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

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    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    What is up with the F-35? Part II

    More smooth sailing for JSF program. This program appears to be a career killer. Though in this case, the issue is reportedly not directly with the program. It would appear that there is a lot bad mojo connected to the program.

    F-35 training wing commander fired - Air Force News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Air Force Times
    Last edited by surfgun; 31 Mar 11, at 21:39.

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    Senior Contributor HKDan's Avatar
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    Lest we get the impression that its all bad news out of the JSF program and go flinging ourselves from tall buildings...here is an article from Loren Thompson(Yes, I know she is a fan) stating that flight testing is well ahead of schedule for 2011.

    defence.professionals | defpro.com

    15:18 GMT, March 28, 2011 Flight tests of the tri-service F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are running well ahead of the plan for 2011, with 181 flights completed as of March 25 against a plan of 133. In addition, the productivity of each flight test is increasing, with an average of 7.7 unique test points achieved per flight. The combination of additional test flights above plan and greater-than-expected productivity per flight has enabled the overall test program to complete 1,310 test points -- far above the number of 899 planned for this stage in the testing cycle. All three variants of the F-35 are being tested, with the average aircraft performing six flights per month.

    The test program might have been dealt a serious setback on March 9 when a conventional takeoff variant was forced to make an emergency landing due to a dual generator failure. Generators provide the electricity that starts the fighter's engine and powers flight controls. However, the cause of the failure was quickly traced to faulty maintenance procedures which have now been corrected, and the test fleet has returned to service. These kinds of anomalies are commonplace in tests of new aircraft.

    Lockheed Martin officials are confident they can resolve problems identified in testing with several parts of the short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL) version of the F-35 being developed for the Marine Corps. Among the fixes required are a strengthening of the doors above the mid-fuselage lift-fan, reinforcement of a bulkhead, and resolution of excessive heat deposition at one point near the engine exhaust. Defense secretary Robert Gates recently put the Marine variant on a two-year probationary period to make the necessary fixes, while stating the Air Force and Navy variants were progressing well.

    The conventional-takeoff Air Force version will be the most heavily produced F-35, comprising over 70 percent of the domestic production run and almost all of the export sales. The Air Force plans to buy 1,763 conventional-takeoff F-35s, while the Navy and Marine Corps collectively will buy 680 of their two variants. Overseas allies are expected to buy thousands of the planes over the next three decades as they replace aging Cold War fighters and seek a low-cost solution to their requirement for a versatile and survivable tactical aircraft.

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    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    I hope it turns out to be the next F-16. But I'd still like to see more F-22's.
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
    If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."

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    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    Well the UK will buy the F-35C version. I don't believe that Canada or Australia has picked their versions yet. The Aussies and the Canadians currently use carrier capable Hornets/Super Hornets.

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    Senior Contributor JA Boomer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfgun View Post
    Well the UK will buy the F-35C version. I don't believe that Canada or Australia has picked their versions yet. The Aussies and the Canadians currently use carrier capable Hornets/Super Hornets.
    Canada will be buying the F-35A. The one sticking point is putting the house and drougue refueling system in the A model for us, but Lockheed has said it won't be a problem, and I think the plan is even to retain the boom capable system as well. I'm not sure if the C model and its increased range was ever really seriously considered.

    With regard to our CF-18's being 'carrier capable', technically I guess they are (as our all F/A-18's since the F-18L never made it off paper) but operationally it would never be considered.

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    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JA Boomer View Post
    Canada will be buying the F-35A. The one sticking point is putting the house and drougue refueling system in the A model for us, but Lockheed has said it won't be a problem, and I think the plan is even to retain the boom capable system as well. I'm not sure if the C model and its increased range was ever really seriously considered.

    With regard to our CF-18's being 'carrier capable', technically I guess they are (as our all F/A-18's since the F-18L never made it off paper) but operationally it would never be considered.
    It would be kind of nice to send a few CF-18's for a cruise on UK's HMS Queen Elizabeth (when they manage to get her into commission). They are bit short on fighters these days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JA Boomer View Post
    With regard to our CF-18's being 'carrier capable', technically I guess they are (as our all F/A-18's since the F-18L never made it off paper) but operationally it would never be considered.
    Structurally the CF-18's are the same as the USMC Hornets, but they have ILS in place of ACLS, so they aren't equipped for carrier ops.
    Last edited by highsea; 02 Apr 11, at 21:47.
    "We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." -President Barack Obama 11/25/2008

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    Quote Originally Posted by surfgun View Post
    Well the UK will buy the F-35C version. I don't believe that Canada or Australia has picked their versions yet. The Aussies and the Canadians currently use carrier capable Hornets/Super Hornets.
    Back to the books, google it.
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    Military Professional wabpilot's Avatar
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    The main thing I am hearing right now from Pax River is the engines are developing more than specified power. Not entirely a bad thing, but not entirely a good thing either. The C is within 1% of the range spec, a manageable number. Once we tame the power output, we should probably hit the numbers. The B has some other issues. Engine temperatures are a bigger problem with the B. We are melting asphalt on the ramp at Pax River. If the deck coatings are not more heat resistant than the very worn coating at Pax River, we may be in trouble.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wabpilot View Post
    The main thing I am hearing right now from Pax River is the engines are developing more than specified power. Not entirely a bad thing, but not entirely a good thing either. The C is within 1% of the range spec, a manageable number. Once we tame the power output, we should probably hit the numbers. The B has some other issues. Engine temperatures are a bigger problem with the B. We are melting asphalt on the ramp at Pax River. If the deck coatings are not more heat resistant than the very worn coating at Pax River, we may be in trouble.
    Why is this necessary to develop a VTOL plane? By looking at the costs of the feature involved, we would have been better off by building more Charles de Gaulle style ships for the Marines. Those ships would have catapults and we would have spend a lot less than $1 trillion dollars.

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    Senior Contributor Stitch's Avatar
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    That's always been a problem with modern VTOL aircraft; I know the Yak-141 wasn't allowed to land in the VTOL configuration at Farnborough in 1993 for fear it would blow a hole in the tarmac due to the eflux from the massive Kobchenko/Soyuz R-79 engine.
    "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

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    Military Professional wabpilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blademaster View Post
    Why is this necessary to develop a VTOL plane? By looking at the costs of the feature involved, we would have been better off by building more Charles de Gaulle style ships for the Marines. Those ships would have catapults and we would have spend a lot less than $1 trillion dollars.
    We didn't develop a VTOL plane. The F-35B is STOVL. Short Take Off Vertical Landing. Although, it is capable of vertical takeoffs, it just consumes way too much fuel to make them practical. The F-35B was/is driven by the USMC and RAF/RN desire to replace the Harrier/Sea Harrier with a similar aircraft. Admittedly, STOVL makes little sense for the RN if they really do put their CVFs into service. The F-35B is a necessity for Italy and Spain though. None of the ships they have or might build will be big enough for CATOBAR operations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wabpilot View Post
    The main thing I am hearing right now from Pax River is the engines are developing more than specified power. Not entirely a bad thing, but not entirely a good thing either. The C is within 1% of the range spec, a manageable number. Once we tame the power output, we should probably hit the numbers. The B has some other issues. Engine temperatures are a bigger problem with the B. We are melting asphalt on the ramp at Pax River. If the deck coatings are not more heat resistant than the very worn coating at Pax River, we may be in trouble.
    The engine temps on the B have always been more of an issue, because they have to run it hotter to get the thrust.

    The range spec isn't a problem, combination of weight and tuning. These engines have always developed more than their advertised power- remember an F-119 hovered a 34,000lb. X-32 on mil power.

    Downthrusting might not be the answer to the range matter, because it's TSFC that matters. Downthrusting the F-135 means lowering the inlet temps- cut fuel only and you run too hot on an already extremely hot turbine. I think what you want is higher output on a lower power setting to reduce TSFC and increase range. Or reduce weight, or increase fuel capacity, or change the way the pickups are located in the tanks to make more fuel useable.
    Last edited by highsea; 27 May 11, at 22:45.
    "We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." -President Barack Obama 11/25/2008

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    Quote Originally Posted by FJV View Post
    I can only give an answer on hearsay.

    I have heard that what former aircraft engineers particularly like about working in formula 1 is that new ideas are implemented very quickly, without a lengthy approval process.

    I wouldn't be too surprised if the car manufacturers would be ahead on some technologies.
    It's probably like building an f1 car but with 10x the complexity and 10X the testing and evaluation. Another way of thinking about it is that each wing is about similar build complexity as an f1 car.

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