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


LOL! right after the above comment noticed Lockheed gets $1.4B contract for F-35 sustainment
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Lockheed Martin on Monday won a $1.4 billion contract to
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for the
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and international customers.

According to Lockheed, the contract provides for “air system maintenance; pilot and maintainer training; depot activation; sustaining engineering; Automatic Logistics Information System (ALIS) support, data analytics and predictive health management; supply chain logistics” for all U.S. and international F-35s through April 30, 2019.

Of the $1.4 billion sum, about 73 percent will be paid by the U.S. Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy, while the other 27 percent will be covered by international customers.

The cost of sustaining the F-35 has been a
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for leaders across the Defense Department, from F-35 joint program executive officer Vice Adm. Mat Winter to
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, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.

Bloomberg reported in March that the
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as many as 590 F-35As from its 1,763 program of record should sustainment costs not improve. While Air Force leadership, including Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein, have said they have no plans to slash the program, reducing F-35 sustainment costs t
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remains a big priority.

Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin vice president of F-35 global sustainment, addressed the sustainment cost issue in a news release.

“We are taking aggressive actions to improve F-35 aircraft availability and reduce sustainment costs. As the sustainment system matures and the size of the operational fleet grows, we are confident we will deliver more capability at less cost than legacy aircraft,” she stated.

The company has already taken some steps to try to improve readiness and repair costs, including expanding the supply chain, buying spare parts ahead of need to boost availability and achieve economies of scale, and investing in diagnostic and data analytics technologies, it said.

So far, more than 280 F-35s have been delivered and operate from 15 bases worldwide.
 

Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator


And the beat goes on and on.

Here the British Squadron in the US but preparing to permanently move to the UK.
 
Last edited:
Jun 26, 2017
Apr 21, 2017

but Raytheon pushes GBU-49 as quick fix to give F-35 ability to hit moving targetssource is DefenseNews
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and US plans to order up to 1,600 GBU-49 bombs for foreign F-35

01 May, 2018
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The US military plans to order 1,400 to 1,600 Raytheon GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway bombs in the fourth quarter to distribute to certain foreign customers of the Lockheed Martin F-35, according to an acquisition notice released on 30 April.

The notice from the Air Force Material Command (AFLCMC) appears only two months after Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) revealed plans to acquire 400 more GBU-49 precision guided munitions for the US military’s own fleet of F-35s.

The GBU-49 is an enhanced version of the laser-only GBU-12. Both are 227kg (500lb) bombs, but the GBU-49 adds a GPS antenna for guidance.

In 2016, the Pentagon’s director for test and evaluation criticised the military’s plan to deploy the F-35As with GBU-12s, saying the weapon’s laser-only guidance system was of limited use for moving targets on the ground.

As an interim replacement, the F-35 joint programme office decided to use the GBU-49 to give F-35s fielded with Block 3F a capability to strike moving targets.

The latest acquisition notice expands the US military’s acquisition of GBU-49 to certain foreign partners that are already approved to acquire the weapon.

The notice itself serves as a required “sources sought” notification, allowing any competitors to offer alternatives to the GBU-49. Boeing also offers the 227kg-class GBU-54, but it’s not clear if the company will respond to the AFLCMC’s sources sought notice.

The AFLCMC suggests the GBU-49 might be its only option. Its goal in releasing the sources sought notice is to “confirm there are no other sources capable of meeting this requirement,” the documents states.

The requirement is for a 227kg-class bomb that is compatible with an F-35 using Block 3F software, and that can “consistently” hit moving targets traveling in a constant direction and at a constant speed up to 113km/h (70mph) and manoeuvring targets with speeds up to 64km/h.
 

timepass

Brigadier
Air Force preps 'block 4' variant of the F-35, new weapons and tech for 2020s...



"The Air Force has begun early testing, software development and weapons integration for its upcoming Block 4 variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an emerging model intended to give the multi-role fighter a new dimension of attack mission possibilities, service leaders said.

The new version, to emerge in the early 2020s, will add new long-range precision-tracking weapons such as the Small Diameter Bomb II and also integrate a computer-generated automatic ground collision avoidance technology."

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Mar 9, 2018
Jan 26, 2018now
New F-35 modernization plan could come with hefty $16B price tag
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"Continuous Capability Development and Delivery" related part also inside
New Air Force Acquisitions Chief Aims to Rid F-35 of Software Glitches
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:

The main problem in maintaining and upgrading the
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for the long term lies in the constant need to reprogram the millions of lines of code in the aircraft's software, according to the new acquisitions chief of the Air Force.

"Our big issue is software," said Will Roper, the Air Force undersecretary for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics, adding that it wasn't a problem exclusive to the F-35. "Almost every software-intensive program is over budget and behind schedule."

Roper, who has been on the job for less than two months, told Pentagon reporters last week that "the physical pieces of the plane are moving in the right direction," but the software issues on the F-35 aren't.

"To me, it's a software program at this point," Roper said of the Lockheed Martin aircraft, the largest procurement program in Pentagon history with costs projected at upwards of $400 billion.

"The rest of acquisition can be improved, but it's the software -- we've got to up our game," he said. "A lot of the sustainment problems could be solved if we could do the software."

"Underpinning the F-35's unrivaled capabilities is more than eight million lines of software code -- more than four times the amount of the world's first 5th-generation fighter, the
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," Lockheed said in a press release. "From flight controls to fusing together the F-35's sensor data to form a clear and comprehensive picture of the battlespace, software is essential."

However, Roper said the Air Force and the Defense Department as a whole aren't currently adapted for the endless fixes and upgrades to the software that a 5th-generation fighter such as the F-35 requires.

The Pentagon is "not accustomed to having deliverables on a weekly or monthly basis," and the Air Force is not accustomed to agile software development in which "rapid drops happen all the time," Roper said.

"It's almost like if you solve this one thing, the dominoes would fall over and the world would be better," said Roper, who has a doctorate in mathematics from Oxford and formerly headed DoD's Strategic Capabilities Office.

Roper's focus was on the software, but recent reports and Congressional hearings have pointed to the mammoth costs of regular maintenance and spare parts for the F-35s and the difficulties of establishing separate supply chains for the three versions of the aircraft. The Air Force has the
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; the
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has the
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, equipped with a tailhook for carrier landings; and the
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has the vertical-landing
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.

On Monday, Lockheed won a $1.4 billion contract to maintain F-35s for the U.S. military and international customers of the aircraft through next April.

Lockheed said the contract provided for "air system maintenance; pilot and maintainer training; depot activation; sustaining engineering; Automatic Logistics Information System (ALIS) support, data analytics and predictive health management; and supply chain logistics."

However, a Government Accountability Office report last week underlined the difficulties in maintaining F-35s when the services fail to share lessons learned in operations.

"Without the F-35 program office's sharing or making available operational lessons learned through a new or existing communications mechanism, the services are at risk of not having access to key information that could affect their movements, exercises, operations, and sustainment of the aircraft in the Pacific and other areas where they operate," the GAO report said.

The
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'
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of the F-35Bs to
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, Japan, has been plagued by shortages of spare parts, poor reliability of parts and lengthy repair times, the report said.

At a House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee hearing in March, several lawmakers expressed concerns at the ballooning maintenance costs for the F-35s under what the Pentagon calls "Continuous Capability Development and Delivery," or C2D2.

Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Massachusetts., said costs "may be as high as $11 billion in development and $5.4 billion in procurement" for the F-35s between fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2024 to achieve all the requirements under C2D2.

"This potential cost of $16 billion is an astonishingly high amount, and, as far as I am aware, greatly exceeds any cost figures previously provided to Congress," she said. "It is important to remember this is a software-intensive effort, and the last 17 years of F-35 software development have seen dramatic cost increases and significant delays."

Vice Adm. Mat Winter, director of the F-35 Joint Program Office, said the current cost estimate stands at roughly $10.8 billion for development, of which $3.7 billion would be shared by U.S. allies operating the F-35. The Pentagon would thus be responsible for only $7.2 billion over seven years.
 
Tuesday at 8:54 AM
got the feeling the narrative changes from 'capabilities' to 'sustainment' (it'd be funny if I was right, because F-35 capabilities are unproven, not independently tested), anyway Air Force acquisition exec: To reduce F-35 sustainment cost, focus on agile software
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and it's actually interesting to read the official (I know there's a summary Tuesday at 8:57 AM) ... what one bil and almost a half buys you, for less than three-hundred aircraft, until April of next year:

Contracts
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Press Operations

Release No: CR-080-18
April 30, 2018

NAVY
Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is awarded a $1,421,735,530 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for recurring logistics services for delivered F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter air systems in support of the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants, and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. Services to be provided include ground maintenance activities; action request resolution; depot activation activities; Automatic Logistics Information System operations and maintenance; reliability, maintainability and health management implementation and support; supply chain management; and activities to provide and support pilot and maintainer initial training. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (62 percent); Orlando, Florida (22 percent); Greenville, South Carolina (7 percent); Warton, United Kingdom (5 percent); and Redondo Beach, California (4 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2019. Fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance (Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy); fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy); non-DoD participant; and FMS funds in the amount of $1,403,206,015 will be obligated at time of award; $845,359,517 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the Air Force ($598,147,885; 42.07 percent); Marine Corps ($261,767,508; 18.41 percent); Navy ($174,668,435; 12.29 percent); non-DoD participants ($284,481,973; 20.01 percent); and FMS customers ($102,669,729, 7.22 percent). This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
 
according to DoDBuzz With Older F-35s 'On Life Support,' Wing Struggles to Train Pilots
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One of the busiest
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training units is hoping the U.S.
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can help relieve some of the pressures of training student pilots with ineffective resources.

The 33rd Fighter Wing, the leading training wing for F-35 student pilots, hopes it will receive additional
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aircraft, along with considerable upgrades to its existing fleet, to keep up with training demands, said Col. Paul Moga, commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing here.

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"Right now, production is king. We've got to find ways to solve this aircrew crisis, and our contribution to that is getting our students through the training program as quickly as possible," Moga said, referring to the service's
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.

Military.com sat down with Moga, head of the F-35A Lightning II flying program,
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Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to the base.

Moga said the unit has found smarter ways inside the existing structure of the 33rd to get more quality sorties into the curriculum despite limitations.

"We're the first Air Force wing to start doing what we call 'hot swaps,'" Moga said.

The term refers to different student/instructor pairs swapping out for back-to-back flights in a single aircraft in order to save time and execute more sorties.

But lately it's not enough.

"We are at the end of our rope as far as finding creative ways to generate more sorties in the same amount of daylight with the same aircraft, because you run the risk [of overunning the fleet and breaking it]," Moga said.

The 33rd maintains 25 F-35As. The U.S.
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, which also has a presence on the base and sends pilots through the training pipeline here, keeps 8
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s on station.

The wing is authorized to have 59 aircraft.

"It stresses the system. Every single day we are maximum-performing in regards to the amount of student training that we do," Moga said.

The sustainment of F-35s at
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is crucial to that training mission.

Although the F-35 is the Pentagon's newest and most advanced aircraft to date, the oldest of the fleet resides at the Florida base. Moga said the planes, part of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s
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, need the additional work.

"Everybody's aware that that fleet is on life support right now, and they need to kind of crank up the machine a little bit if they plan on extending the utility of this fleet another five or 10 years," said Moga, who also oversees the maintenance training units here.

The fifth-generation stealth plane arrived here in 2011 and made the 33rd Fighter Wing the first U.S. F-35 training unit. The first class of student pilots started training in 2013.

While
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, Arizona, trains pilots in its "B course" program and flies more sorties, prospective pilots come to Eglin for its academic training center program.

Luke's curriculum requires students to train for 8 months, more than double the time of pilots coming through training at Eglin. As a result, Eglin's throughput outpaces Luke's program even though it too only trains about six pilots at a time.

Moga said officials are trying to find ways to get more sorties out of the planes they have, but they are hopeful that additional F-35As can come to the base in the future to bulk up training for their students.

"Right now, just based on our availability and our mission capable rates, it's just not possible," Moga said.

More spare parts maintenance, better software
The sustainment issues lie in the mission systems. Eglin's aircraft are "in dire need" of more mission system spare parts, the commander said.

The planes prospective pilots fly also have some of the oldest Block 2B software.

"They are the oldest software configuration outside some of the test aircraft out there," Moga said.

Moga said it could create a gap in training, as pilots who then head to Luke or
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, Utah, would see newer software models.

"We can't produce a 3F graduate because we don't have any 3F aircraft," Moga said, referring
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. The Defense Department's F-35 Joint Program Office is currently overseeing efforts to move to the even more advanced Block 4 software, which would give the F-35 a full range and larger weapons suite in combat operations sometime in the early 2020s.

The fleet here has only just now begun catching up with needed integration upgrades, Moga said.

And even if the wing received all the spare parts, a handful of aircraft are always down because they're receiving modifications or are getting depot maintenance, he added.

'Untapped resources'
Originally, Eglin was supposed to receive 107 aircraft. But in 2009, Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold
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over concerns that noise levels and increased activity would disrupt citizens living near the base.

Yet even if the wing is authorized to keep less than half of the originally planned 107, it still remains more than 20 fighters shy of what it needs.

Moga said the capacity at Eglin is there for more aircraft, with hangar space, accompanying maintenance units, and a wide range to train on.

"I just want people to be aware there are untapped resources here at Eglin and we need to start taking advantage of it," Moga said.

For example, he said, because of how the unit falls under Air Education and Training Command, there's an entire maintenance squadron that could support two units.

The base's infrastructure is only one piece of the puzzle.

If the base was in a position to get more jets, the production rate for F-35A pilots could increase. But that's only if the Air Force needs it to.

Air Combat Command, which oversees all the combat-coded squadrons in the service, would need to be ready to task and absorb those pilots if production ramps up.

"If we got 12 more jets, we could increase our training by about 60 percent," Moga said. "If we got another squadron of 24 aircraft, we could [more than] double our production."
 
Apr 27, 2018
Apr 19, 2018
related:
Lockheed, Pentagon Still Haggling Over F-35 Suspension


Apr 24, 2018
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while now F-35 deliveries resume as DoD, Lockheed clear up financial disagreement
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The Pentagon is now accepting deliveries of the
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again, after resolving a
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over who should pay to fix a couple hundred jets, the company confirmed Monday.

However, it’s still unknown who will ultimately be left with the repair bill.

Spokesmen from Lockheed and the F-35 Joint Program Office declined to comment on whether the company or government will be held financially responsible for the production escape. The decision to resume deliveries was first reported by
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.

On April 11, the Defense Department confirmed it had stopped accepting some F-35 deliveries beginning March 28. The problem, sources said at the time, is that the department and Lockheed had agreed upon a plan to repair about 200 jets that were impacted by a quality lapse — but not
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.

The initial quality control issue, which had caused a stoppage in F-35 deliveries from Sept. 21 to Oct. 20, involved corrosion found in fastener holes of F-35As being repaired at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. A Lockheed investigation had found that the company had not applied the corrosion-preventing primer to fastener holes.

Ultimately, Defense Department officials felt the Pentagon shouldn’t be held wholly responsible for paying to retrofit planes due to Lockheed’s mistake, leading it to partially freeze deliveries while negotiating with the company.

In a statement, F-35 JPO spokesman Joe DellaVedova confirmed that the program office had begun accepting deliveries on May 1.

Since then, Lockheed has delivered a number of F-35s to the Defense Department, with an additional 12 jets having completed production and awaiting processing before delivery, a source with knowledge of the discussions told Defense News.

Lockheed spokesman Mike Friedman declined to comment on whether Lockheed would bear responsibility for covering repair costs.

“While we don’t discuss specific cost figures and contracting terms, we have a comprehensive plan in place to effectively and efficiently address the F-35 hole primer issue,” he said.

The JPO statement did not address who will fund the repairs except to say that the plan ensures the services will receive “an affordable and quality weapons system from industry.”

“The F-35 Joint Program Office, along with the U.S. services, international allies and Lockheed Martin, have implemented a comprehensive corrective action plan to make the necessary repairs to all aircraft while minimizing impact to operations,” the JPO statement reads. “The majority of aircraft will be complete within 24 months with the remaining aircraft completed as their availabilities/modification timing allows.”

A Lockheed statement said deliveries had resumed following an agreement between the F-35 JPO and the company to “effectively and efficiently” address the issue.

“All F-35 production continued during the delivery pause, and Lockheed Martin remains on track to meet its delivery target of 91 aircraft for 2018,” the company said.

After the production pause came to light last month, Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said the department intends to
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.

“The department, in an effort to move forward with the program, has perhaps not been as thoughtful as we want to be from this point forward in terms of what we consider acceptable performance,” she said.

“I think this corrosion issue is one example where we have expectations for workmanship, and at this point we’re not seeing those workmanship levels being achieved.”
 

Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
according to DoDBuzz With Older F-35s 'On Life Support,' Wing Struggles to Train Pilots
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"Max Moga" is the Air Forces first F-22 DEMO pilot, flying a great many airshows in the first season of F-22 combat air displays and personally came up the the flight routine... when Max was commander of the 95th Fighter Squadron in Alaska, he personally accepted delivery of the very last airplane off the assembly line, which became "his" airplane!

Max used to contribute to "Airsho Buzz", before his successor at the F-22 Show got himself into a little stink over TMI! LOL
 
this thread for

Israel to link fleet upgrade with follow-on F-15I buy
16 May, 2018
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because:

"The purchase of additional F-15s has recently gained priority for the Israeli air force's high command over ordering aircraft for a third squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35Is. The rationale for this decision is that while the F-35's stealth features are essential at the start of a conflict, the type will need be flown during later combat sorties in conjunction with assets capable of carrying a heavier weapons load."
 

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