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

  1. #46
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    The first F-35C test aircraft has left Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., for the first volley of carrier-suitability tests at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

    CF-2, the second test aircraft delivered by Lockheed Martin to the Navy, arrived at Lakehurst on June 25 and was flown by test pilot Lt. Cmdr. Eric “Magic” Buus. While there, the airplane will be used for jet blast deflector tests, including deck heating, deflector panel cooling and other aspects. Shipboard testing is scheduled for 2013.

    But this isn’t exactly how things were planned, and this change-up, unlike others that have dogged the Joint Strike Fighter program, isn’t something to worry about. Originally a different test aircraft, CF-1, was supposed to head to Lakehurst first. However, tests earlier this summer went better than expected, allowing a change of plans, said Cmdr. Victor Chen, a Naval Air Systems Command spokesman.

    “F-35C testing is currently ahead of schedule, allowing previously unplanned testing on CF-1 to eliminate the requirements that caused it to be the only aircraft that could support initial (jet blast deflector) testing. With both aircraft able to support, the decision was made to keep CF-1 at the F-35 integrated test facility at NAS Patuxent River in order to perform a software upgrade, modify flight test instrumentation and execute flight test points, which it did on its first Pax fly day,” Chen said.

    Two test aircraft are expected to go to Lakehurst later this summer for more carrier-suitability tests, including catapult launches and roll-in and arrested landings
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  2. #47
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    Im really warming up to this plane. I hope they resolve the 'B' version issues soon.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zinja View Post
    Im really warming up to this plane. I hope they resolve the 'B' version issues soon.
    The same sorts of whining (for lack of a better word) were leveled at the F-14 and F-15 when they were introduced. "Too expensive, too complicated, unproven technology." The F-22 looks to be a world-beater, and it too was hammered by the press and by armchair analysts.

    High tech takes time, usually more than projected. I'm OK with that. I want them to get it right NOW, before we have 400 on the line, and a fatal flaw is discovered.

  4. #49
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    JSF has been grounded.
    JSF Force Grounded | AVIATION WEEK

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    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    Some interesting news that the Navy is being pressured to consider either canceling the B or C variant.
    New Threat To F-35 Joint Strike Fighter | AVIATION WEEK

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    Canceling the carrier variant at this point makes no sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by surfgun View Post
    JSF has been grounded.
    JSF Force Grounded | AVIATION WEEK
    JSF test aircraft were cleared to return to flight on Aug. 18, after a two-week grounding caused by a failure in the integrated power pack (IPP). Production aircraft, including two at Eglin AFB, Fla., and F-35s being prepared for delivery at Fort Worth, remain grounded and restricted from engine and IPP runs.

    from the second article you linked.

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    Testing Finds Flaws In F-35 Wing Structures

    Just weeks after the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter got back to flight testing, a new design problem has cropped up. An aluminum beam in the wing structure has been found to be "defective," an issue that could lower the aircraft's wing life from 8,000 hours, or about 25 operational years, to just 1,200 hours, which equates to about five years of flying.



    While Gizmodo reports that F-35 program spokesman Joseph DellaVedova said "This is not considered a serious issue," Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon's top testing official, told Bloomberg News that the fix will be "a difficult and complex process." And the repair will have to come out of the program's existing budget.

    As those who have followed the program know, the JSF program has been plagued by cost overruns and delays. The test fleet was recently grounded due to a power supply problem, and had only just been returned to operational status. Back in January, then-defense-secretary Robert Gates had put the program on notice by imposing a two-year probation after discovering other structural flaws. Budget hawks have long viewed the program, often described as the most costly defense acquisition in history, as a tempting target. A major program review is also reportedly planned as pressure grows on Congress and the President to cut spending.

    But the JSF does have its fans. Recently, Senators Jony Cornyn (R-TX) and Saxby Chamblis (R-GA) sent a very direct letter to the Pentagon, and incoming Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, chastising the DoD for its tepid support for the program. Perhaps not surprisingly, the F-35 accounts for thousands of jobs in those two states.
    Link

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zinja View Post
    This is not unexpected for an SDD aircraft. A fix was identified shortly after the problem was found. LM and the USAF already have a plan to roll the fix into the coming lots and then back into the existing aircraft during already scheduled down time. Props to the team for finding a solution so quickly.

    F-35 program finds, corrects wing problem - Military News | News From Afghanistan, Iraq And Around The World - Military Times
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    This is so painful to read.But I don't want to be banned so I will keep my mouth shut.

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    Senate appropriators: Kill JLTV, cut JSF $695M

    In its markup of the 2012 defense spending bill, the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense is recommending terminating the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and cutting $695 million from the Air Force’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

    The moves are part of a $26 billion cut to the Pentagon’s 2012 budget request.

    Last week, the full appropriations committee agreed to allocate $513 billion for the Pentagon’s 2012 base budget, not including military construction. This freezes defense spending at 2011 spending levels.

    The full committee also agreed to fully fund the president’s request of $118 billion for overseas contingency operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    “While this was not an easy allocation to meet, I can assure you that this recommendation takes care of our men and women in uniform and their families, fully supports military readiness, protects the forces, and maintains our technological edge,” committee chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said Tuesday in his opening statement.

    At the markup, Inouye announced a cut of $1.2 billion to JSF. However, later in the day, a committee spokesman issued a correction, saying the recommendation was for $695 million.

    The subcommittee bill will now move to the full committee, which plans to mark up the bill Thursday.

    Fiscal year 2012 begins Oct. 1. Without any appropriations bills passed, Congress will have to pass a temporary spending measure, called a continuing resolution, to keep the government funded beyond Sept. 30.

    To meet the $26 billion cut, the subcommittee recommended nearly 600 line-item reductions in the bill.

    “Most of these reductions are made as a result of program terminations, schedule delays, programs changes since submission of the budget last February, inadequate justification, unaffordable future year costs, or corrections to poor fiscal discipline,” said Inouye, who also serves as subcommittee chair.

    For example, the Defense Department identified more than $10 billion that they no longer need in 2012, including $5 billion in excess funds due to troop reductions in Afghanistan that President Obama announced after the budget was submitted.

    Inouye said the commander in Afghanistan who oversees training Afghanistan Security Forces identified $1.6 billion that is no longer needed. Another $135 million was cut from the Air Force’s tanker replacement program because service leaders said they could not spend the money by the end of next year.

    As for the cut to the JSF program, Inouye cited “excessive concurrency in development and production,” and recommended maintaining 2011 production levels for two more years “in order to limit out-year cost growth.”

    “The test program is only 10 percent complete, yet the request continues to ramp up production of aircraft in fiscal years 2012 and 2013,” Inouye said. “For each aircraft we build this early in the test program, we will have to pay many millions in the future to fix the problems that are identified in testing.”

    The subcommittee also recommends terminating the Army and Marine Corps JLTV program, which was started as an effort to build a next-generation Humvee.

    The program has faced growing scrutiny over the last few years, with other vehicles promising similar capabilities and the Marine Corps expressing concern about the vehicle’s weight. Since the program’s inception, the services have fielded thousands of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicles to Afghanistan and have launched a competitive Humvee recapitalization program.

    In recommending termination, Inouye cited “excessive cost growth and constantly changing requirements. The committee believes that alternatives exist today to meet the Army and Marine Corps’ requirements to recapitalize and competitively upgrade the Humvee fleet, and supports funding for those programs.”

    DoD is currently paying three industry teams to develop JLTV technology.

    In February, DoD announced that the award of the JLTV engineering and manufacturing development contract would be delayed until January 2012 because the Army had changed its requirements.

    “Some defense and trade analysts suggest that the JLTV program will cost well over $10 billion and possibly as much as $30 billion to $70 billion, depending on the final cost of the vehicles chosen and the number of vehicles procured,” the Congressional Research Service reported in March.

    The subcommittee bill does not fund the Navy’s request for an additional Mobile Landing Platform ship, noting the Congress funded it in the 2011 appropriations bill.

    “We believe that this remains an important requirement and expect the Navy to fund the third ship in the fiscal year 2013 request,” Inouye said.

    In some areas, the subcommittee recommended increased spending.

    The bill includes an additional $250 million for vehicle survivability upgrades for MRAPs, an additional $500 million for National Guard and Reserve equipment, and an additional $240 million for Abrams tank upgrades.

    It also fully funds the Pentagon’s research and development request and increases funding for cyber security, nanotechnology and space situational awareness.

    Speaking to reporters after the markup, Inouye said the bill included funding for the Medium Extended Air Defense System, a tri-national program with Germany and Italy.

    The Pentagon announced in February that it no longer intended to purchase the MEADS system, but required $800 million over the next three years to capitalize on the research and development.

    The subcommittee fully funds the Pentagon’s requested end strength and the 1.6 percent authorized pay raise for military personnel.

    Some may consider the recommended cuts as tough, but Inouye said the subcommittee believed they were “fair and prudent.”
    Link So, what going to happen to MEADS then :(?

  12. #57
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  13. #58
    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    Interesting price list:
    F-35A = $111.6 Million
    F-35B = $109.4 Million
    F-35C = $142.9 Million
    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...%20F-35%20Cost
    Last edited by surfgun; 03 Oct 11, at 22:10.

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    Clearly a bargain compared to the F-22. Nice work, Congress.

  15. #60
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    Exactly. Gates and Congress were wrong on pretty much every reason that they gave for cancelling the F-22 (cost, capability, time frame of competitors being fielded, F-22 being "unproven" (like the SDD F-35 was?!?!), etc. etc.). Pure stupidity!

    So if this is right and the F-35As and Bs cost about $110 million, that is a lot more than the $60 million that they were originally supposed to cost. However, is this number really so shocking or terrible? From what I've gathered online late model F-15s cost around $100 million and the EF-2000 and Rafale are over $100 million. If this is all true then the F-35 sounds like a bargain.
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