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Thread: What is up with the F-35? Part II

  1. #1771
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    Make no mistake the government is the problem. Everything they touch turns to crap. They've got their tentacles into what was an innovative private industry and injected it with government brand lethargy and inefficiency.

    I don't know....I think they (we since I am a Department of the Army civilian employee) do pretty good on some programs.

    - Rural electrification ... having gone to college in West Virginia in the 1970s I saw the very real positive impacts of those programs which were still innovating and making lives better for Americans since its inception 40 years earlier
    - The interstate highway system ... Sure it needs repairs, but I can still get5 from Richmond to Boston in less than 11 hours...that is making it through the longest congested stretch in the US on a trip of over 650 miles. I can be in Nashville in 9.
    - air traffic control - we don't have planes flying into each other

    What has also hurt the defense industry was the wholesale deregulation. Keeping companies small and competitive did a lot for creativity.


    -
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

  2. #1772
    Military Professional JCT's Avatar
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    Blame the lawyers. The Federal Acquisition Regulations is a 2000 page document. A lot of the clauses can be read as, someone did this to defraud the government, don't do this. Or due to a vague contract clause, a KTR was able to slide by this rule and provide something that was deficient, expensive, or didn't meet requirements, so these ridiculously specific specifications must be used when buying or building this widget. All of this adds to the expense. There are a ton of Mil-Specs that are required when you have industry build something for you. Many are there for a good reason, they save lives and add to the security of the Nation. However, they add to the cost of doing business. For instance, I had to buy what was essentially a standard, four legged desk chair with a cushioned seat and back for use onboard a USN warship. Of course, the chair had to meet certain specifications and only a very few companies built this chair. What should have cost no more than $50-$100 ended up costing the program $450 each (one company quoted $900!!!). Of course, unlike the cheaper chair, this one is fire resistant and will not emit toxic chemicals when exposed to high temperatures, it won't break a weld when subject to a high shock (such as an impact to the hull), etc.

    Within the last decade, the gov't has recognized the increased cost of these military specifications and many have been cancelled and replaced by standard industry regulations. There has been some progress, but not enough in my opinion. Talk to your Congressman, they are the ones who need to streamline the federal acquisition process.

  3. #1773
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Boat View Post
    So remove the STOVL requirement and basically you get a mach 2.0+ multirole carrier capable aircraft with all the electronic doo-dads that can out fly an F22. The marines get the F35B. The A and C models are good but there is no question that their design were severely compromised by the B model. Most obviously in the speed department.
    You're making the assertion that the STOVL capability of the F-35B is the limiting factor to the design speed of the A and C variants but I'm not sure why. The F-35B is a much better basis for a high speed naval interceptor than the F-35C. Naval aircraft require fine control at low approach speeds, this is achieved on the F-35C through 30% larger wings and control surfaces at the cost of increased drag in transonic and supersonic flight. The F-35B achieves low speed control via engine thrust rather than relying exclusively on exterior control surfaces.

    Give both the B and C a tiny little delta wing and variable inlets to let them blaze through the upper atmosphere at high mach numbers and then see which version can still land on a ship with their new approach speed of 200 knots...

    ---------------------------------------------------

    The real question here isn't what the F-35 coulda should woulda been, but where is the requirement for a Mach 2+ fighter?

    Mach 2 interceptors of yore were built to get off the ground quickly and blaze towards huge fleets of Soviet bombers in order to intercept them far enough out that they couldn't fire cruise missiles at important assets like US carrier groups.

    The advent of AWACS like the E-2 meant that bombers would be spotted far earlier, reducing the need for speed as slower fighters could still intercept them before they became a threat. The introduction of AEGIS ships with powerful radars and long ranged missiles meant the fleet could engage bombers at long range without carriers dedicating deck space to hangar queens like the F-14 and unreliable Phoenix missiles. Thus the USN's switch to multi-role fighters like the Hornet that allow a carrier group to put more aircraft into the fight rather than having very limited numbers of more specialized aircraft.

    Guess what curtailed F-22 production? A lack of requirements! With the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was nobody left to challenge US air superiority. I'd argue that despite the grumbling from the USAF it was the right call, because to this day there still isn't a challenger to US dominance of the skies. The US now has almost 500 stealth fighters in it's inventory with number set to rise rapidly and not a single other country has more than a handful.

    What challenges will US air power face in the next few decades?

    • Attacking into airspace defended by modern IADS? Check
    • Swatting 1960s vintage aircraft? Check
    • Dealing with small numbers of modern? Maybe
    • Intercepting large fleets of angry bombers? Nope


    Everything in aircraft design involves trade-offs, so what's the requirement that makes sacrificing other aspects of the F-35's design to gain Mach 2+ speed a compelling choice?

  4. #1774
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Germany declares preference for F-35 to replace Tornado


    BERLIN (Reuters) - The German military needs a “fifth-generation” replacement for its Tornado fighter jets that is hard to detect on enemy radars and can strike targets from a great distance, the chief of staff of the air force said on Wednesday.

    Lieutenant General Karl Muellner’s comments are his clearest public statements to date on the Tornado replacement program. They indicate a preference for Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter jet, the only Western aircraft that meets those requirements.

    Muellner told Reuters Germany would need to buy an off-the-shelf replacement that could enter service around 2025 to facilitate a smooth transition with the Tornado, noting that did not leave enough time to develop a unique solution.

    But he said changing warfare requirements and the need for a credible deterrent meant the successor fighter had to be “low-observable, and able to identify and strike targets from a great distance”.

    “It will have to be a fifth-generation jet to meet the full spectrum of our needs,” Muellner said.
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-g...-idUSKBN1D81WR

    http://www.janes.com/article/75511/g...eplace-tornado

  5. #1775
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    You're making the assertion that the STOVL capability of the F-35B is the limiting factor to the design speed of the A and C variants but I'm not sure why. The F-35B is a much better basis for a high speed naval interceptor than the F-35C. Naval aircraft require fine control at low approach speeds, this is achieved on the F-35C through 30% larger wings and control surfaces at the cost of increased drag in transonic and supersonic flight. The F-35B achieves low speed control via engine thrust rather than relying exclusively on exterior control surfaces.

    Give both the B and C a tiny little delta wing and variable inlets to let them blaze through the upper atmosphere at high mach numbers and then see which version can still land on a ship with their new approach speed of 200 knots...

    ---------------------------------------------------

    The real question here isn't what the F-35 coulda should woulda been, but where is the requirement for a Mach 2+ fighter?

    Mach 2 interceptors of yore were built to get off the ground quickly and blaze towards huge fleets of Soviet bombers in order to intercept them far enough out that they couldn't fire cruise missiles at important assets like US carrier groups.

    The advent of AWACS like the E-2 meant that bombers would be spotted far earlier, reducing the need for speed as slower fighters could still intercept them before they became a threat. The introduction of AEGIS ships with powerful radars and long ranged missiles meant the fleet could engage bombers at long range without carriers dedicating deck space to hangar queens like the F-14 and unreliable Phoenix missiles. Thus the USN's switch to multi-role fighters like the Hornet that allow a carrier group to put more aircraft into the fight rather than having very limited numbers of more specialized aircraft.

    Guess what curtailed F-22 production? A lack of requirements! With the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was nobody left to challenge US air superiority. I'd argue that despite the grumbling from the USAF it was the right call, because to this day there still isn't a challenger to US dominance of the skies. The US now has almost 500 stealth fighters in it's inventory with number set to rise rapidly and not a single other country has more than a handful.

    What challenges will US air power face in the next few decades?

    • Attacking into airspace defended by modern IADS? Check
    • Swatting 1960s vintage aircraft? Check
    • Dealing with small numbers of modern? Maybe
    • Intercepting large fleets of angry bombers? Nope


    Everything in aircraft design involves trade-offs, so what's the requirement that makes sacrificing other aspects of the F-35's design to gain Mach 2+ speed a compelling choice?
    I think it's pretty well known that the need to bury that lift fan in the fuselage as well routing the engine inlets around it is the primary reason the F35 can only do Mach1.6. I know you can justify not being able to go Mach 2.0+ but it would be a feature that would be greatly welcomed. Speed is life and all that.

  6. #1776
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Boat View Post
    I think it's pretty well known that the need to bury that lift fan in the fuselage as well routing the engine inlets around it is the primary reason the F35 can only do Mach1.6. I know you can justify not being able to go Mach 2.0+ but it would be a feature that would be greatly welcomed. Speed is life and all that.
    Umm, NO.

    The F35 does not only do Mach 1.6. Mach 1.6 is a placard limit, and is achieved with full internal weapons and fuel loads with thrust to spare:



    The actual speed limit for each model of F35 is not publicly disclosed, nor is the reason for the operational limit.

  7. #1777
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Umm, NO.

    The F35 does not only do Mach 1.6. Mach 1.6 is a placard limit, and is achieved with full internal weapons and fuel loads with thrust to spare:



    The actual speed limit for each model of F35 is not publicly disclosed, nor is the reason for the operational limit.
    Citanon, please don't ruin my clueless rants with facts and evidence.

  8. #1778
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    Quote Originally Posted by gun boat View Post
    citanon, please don't ruin my clueless rants with facts and evidence.
    lol!

  9. #1779
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    More about S-400 buy, may compromise Turkey’s F-35 buy.
    https://www.defensenews.com/digital-...nto-nato-tech/

  10. #1780
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfgun View Post
    More about S-400 buy, may compromise Turkey’s F-35 buy.
    https://www.defensenews.com/digital-...nto-nato-tech/
    Hold on... isn't Turkey supposed to be one of the key support centers? Afaik, even the UK would have to sent it's engines there?!

  11. #1781
    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    I think the UK stuff would be worked on in Italy.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/...ce-center.html
    Last edited by surfgun; 20 Nov 17, at 01:40.

  12. #1782
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfgun View Post
    More about S-400 buy, may compromise Turkey’s F-35 buy.
    https://www.defensenews.com/digital-...nto-nato-tech/
    Sounds like a prime opportunity, along with the Saudi buy, to find out more about the system.

    And it'd be a pretty bad idea to not delivery F-35s to Turkey at this point, given all they already have and know about the program.

  13. #1783
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skywatcher View Post
    Sounds like a prime opportunity, along with the Saudi buy, to find out more about the system.

    And it'd be a pretty bad idea to not delivery F-35s to Turkey at this point, given all they already have and know about the program.
    and likewise for the opposition to get a first hand look at the F-35.

    and I'd be more worried about Turkey pulling an Iran and going to the other side all together at some point down the road.

  14. #1784
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    Quote Originally Posted by bfng3569 View Post
    and likewise for the opposition to get a first hand look at the F-35.

    and I'd be more worried about Turkey pulling an Iran and going to the other side all together at some point down the road.
    I doubt it, there's pretty much no way Turkey would find someone they would share the F-35 to at any meaningful level (it's not like they're going to trust the Russians that much), since the Lightning II is so important to their Air Force (doubly so given how networked the F-35 is; share a little and the F-35 is pretty much compromised operationally).

  15. #1785
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skywatcher View Post
    I doubt it, there's pretty much no way Turkey would find someone they would share the F-35 to at any meaningful level (it's not like they're going to trust the Russians that much), since the Lightning II is so important to their Air Force (doubly so given how networked the F-35 is; share a little and the F-35 is pretty much compromised operationally).
    Bear in mind that unlike the F-22, the F-35 was designed from the outset as an exportable aircraft. The designers went to great lengths to obscure critical technologies from being reverse engineered even if an F-35 were to be "lost" and turn up in Moscow.

    Much of what made the F-35 possible to build in the first place was early investment into industry to push the development of new construction techniques, and without access to those techniques, seeing the finished product may not tell you much about how it was achieved.

    For example, if you were to take apart the F-135 engine you may discover that the compressor uses blisks that consists of a single part, instead of an assembly of a disk and individual, removable blades. This provides a number of advantages by reducing the points of failure, reducing drag, and increasing engine efficiency by allowing higher temperature operation. What inspecting the finished product doesn’t tell you is how an alloy capable of withstanding the high temperatures in the core of a jet engine is forged into such a complicated single piece with such incredibly tight tolerances for variance. In theory it could be produced any number of ways, whether milled, 3D printed, or welded, but without the underlying industrial knowledge and technology, examining the finished product doesn’t tell you how to produce more like it.

    Similarly, examining the F-35's MALD communications suite would tell you that it uses phased array antennas to transmit tight beams of data on the Ku band. What it doesn't tell you is anything about the communications protocol, frequency hopping, and anti-jamming techniques used by the software defined radio.

    Most importantly however the most complex part of the jet, the core software code, is locked down tight and only the Americans have access to it. This has caused some considerable heartburn among partner nations, but it’s the price of getting access to front line US tech. The F-35’s hardware is cutting edge, but the software is where the magic happens and is what really sets it apart from every other aircraft in the sky.

    ----------------------------------------------

    While certainly undesirable, the prospect of Turkey letting men from Moscow get a peek under the F-35's skirt is less problematic than might be initially assumed. It is certainly less of an issue than the prospect of the US risking a strategic geopolitical relationship with a partner in NATO.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 22 Nov 17, at 16:08.

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