May. 10, 2012 - 10:39AM |
By ANDREW CHUTER
LONDON — The British government has confirmed it will revert to the F-35B short-takeoff, vertical-landing version of the Joint Strike Fighter to equip aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced in Parliament that the plan to purchase the F-35C carrier variant had been axed due to what he said was unacceptable cost growth and delays in the plan to convert a carrier to handle the conventional takeoff variant.
Hammond said the estimates for converting one carrier had doubled from the original figure of 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) to 2 billion pounds.
A senior defense source laid part of the blame for that cost growth at the door of the U.S. government.
The source said U.S. insistence that the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch Systems (EMALS) be purchased through a government-to-government foreign military sales (FMS) deal rather than directly from manufacturer General Atomics, as the British preferred, accounted for around “150 million pounds, about 7 percent,” of the increase in conversion costs.
“The U.S. wanted FMS while we had assumed purchase from the manufacturer … it was their strongly preferred option,” said the source. Senior defense sources said the Ministry of Defence had spent about 40 million pounds conducting design work to convert a carrier to operate the U.S.-developed electromagnetic system to launch the F-35C from the deck of the carrier.
The MoD said it will face some exit costs from the conversion work that are still being negotiated, plus the cost of installing takeoff ramps on the two aircraft carriers. Combined, the estimated total figure of the F-35C conversion is up to 100 million pounds.
The MoD said in a statement it was still committed to interoperability, but the “emphasis now is much less on being able to fly our aircraft off U.S or French aircraft carriers and vice versa, but more on ensuring that our carrier strike capability can integrate with allies forces in joint or coalition operations.”
The MoD said the key issue with France was to ensure that “between us we always have one operational, for example, providing cover for each other during refit periods.”
A second senior defense source said the change back to the STOVL aircraft would not impact the weapons load the British plan to carry on the aircraft and many of the missions conducted by the STOVL aircraft would require inflight refueling anyway.
Under that scheme, the Royal Navy, which will operate the jets jointly with the Royal Air Force, would have had a carrier at sea for no more than two-thirds of the time.
Now, with no cats and traps conversion costs, it is holding out the prospect of having a continuous presence with the second carrier able to provide capability while the first vessel is in maintenance.
The MoD admits there is no decision on budgeting for the crew or support for a second carrier and said no decision will be taken until the next Strategic Defence and Security Review planned for 2015.
The first defense source said the design changes required for the conversion had turned out to be more invasive and complicated than expected, with 290 major modifications required to compartments on the warship rather than the 80 compartments originally expected to be affected.
Hammond said that sticking with the F-35C would have delayed getting the carrier strike force into service of at least three years, to 2023.
An MoD spokeswoman said the delay was sparked by a number of issues, including complexity of EMALS and the extent the warship needed to be reconfigured to accept the system.
Under the new plan, the first of class Queen Elizabeth will start sea trials in 2017, with the first F-35B test flights timed for 2018 and an initial operating capability two years later.
By: Dave Majumdar Washington DC
Source: Flight International
The US Air Force has concluded that the short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) Lockheed Martin F-35B- model aircraft cannot generate enough sorties to meet its needs; therefore the service will not consider replacing the Fairchild Republic A-10 Warthog close air support jet with that variant.
Meanwhile, the USAF and the US Navy are hoping to more closely integrate their forces as part of the US Department of Defense's (DoD) new AirSea battle concept.
"The F-35B is well-suited to support of the Marine Air Ground Taskforce (MAGTF) in very austere locations," says USAF chief of staff Gen Norton Schwartz, speaking at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. "But the reality is, is that scenario is not a high sortie generation scenario."
The USAF and the US Navy need greater sortie generation rates than the F-35B can provide, Schwartz says.
"What we think is needed is high sortie generation in order to provide persistence over the target and to engage the variety of targets that may exist," he says. "Not in a confined battlespace, but more on a theatre basis."
The F-35B is an interesting aircraft, Schwartz says. But while the USAF had at one time considered the variant as a potential replacement for the A-10, given the fiscal constraints the services faces and the need to generate more sorties, the USAF will not buy the F-35B, he says.
Retired Lt Gen George Trautman, a former US Marine Corps (USMC) deputy commandant for aviation, disputes Schwartz's assertion that the F-35B cannot generate as many sorties as the A or C model aircraft.
"The F35B has highest sortie generation rate among the three JSF [Joint Strike Fighter] variants," Trautman says. "There may be other reasons the air force doesn't want the B, but sortie rate isn't a factor."
In fact, the USMC's concept of operations depends on the STOVL variant generating more sorties more rapidly than other JSF models, says retired USMC Lt Gen Emerson Gardner, a former naval aviator.
The key performance parameters (KPP) for the F-35 require higher sortie rates for the B-model at four sorties per day. The A and C models are only required to generate three sorties per day.
"So far in SDD [System Development and Demonstration], all three variants are on track to exceed their KPPs at the completion of SDD," Gardner says. "The B looks to come in at about six sorties per day, the A at about 3.5 and the C at close to four."
14:16 GMT, May 16, 2012 FORT WORTH, Texas | The twelfth Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II destined for the training fleet at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., was ferried today. U.S. Marine Corps pilot Lt. Col. Fred Schenk piloted the aircraft, known as BF-11, which departed Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas at 10:02 a.m. CDT for an approximate 90-minute flight to Florida's Emerald Coast.
The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing production jet is now assigned to the Marine Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 501 residing with the host 33d Fighter Wing, where it will be used for pilot and maintainer training.
By: Dave Majumdar Washington DC
Source: Flight International
The F-35 Lightning II is making good progress through flight testing this year, a top Lockheed Martin official says. Most of the biggest challenges faced by the programme should be well on their way to being fixed by the later part of the year.
One major issue that has recently popped up on the US Navy's F-35C variant is that the aircraft's tail-hook has had to be redesigned. That is because the existing design has failed to catch an arresting cable during trials. Lockheed is working on a new improved hook design that should fix the problem.
"We have modified the hook pointwith a lower center of gravity," says Steve O'Bryan, Lockheed's vice president for F-35 programme integration and business development. Additionally, "we've redesigned the hold-down damper."
The new design is scheduled for its preliminary design review in "the summer." That will be followed by a critical design review in the fourth quarter.
After the new hook design undergoes shore-based qualification trails, the F-35C will undergo sea trials on a carrier in late 2013 or early 2014.
Lockheed is also set to test fixes to the jet's troublesome helmet-mounted display (HMD) this summer, O'Bryan says. Lockheed has reached an agreement with the US government on the HMD requirements, which will help the company to fix imagery lag on the helmet by tweaking the system's software, he says.
The company is also adding micro inertial measurement units (IMU) to the helmet and pilot's seat to dampen out jittery images. "We're going to fly those micro-IMUs this summer," O'Bryan says.
Lockheed hopes that the new ISIE-11 camera, which replaces the existing ISIE-10 cameras, will resolve jet's night vision acuity problems. The new system will undergo testing at MIT's Lincoln Labs later this summer. The system will now consist of two ISIE-11 cameras, one of which will be mounted in the helmet and another on the canopy bow, and imagery pumped in from the F-35's six distributed aperture system (DAS) infrared cameras.
"We're optimistic, we've got a good plan," O'Bryan says.
Meanwhile, the pilots have started to test the imagery from the distributed aperture system. Initial results look to be very promising, O'Bryan says. But there will need to be tweaks as flight tests reveal potential issues.
Other avionics tests are proceeding well. The F-35 has already started testing the Link-16 data-link and will soon start to test the variable message format link which is needed for the close air support mission. There are also ongoing tests with the radar, electronic warfare, and infrared targeting system, which are needed for the release of the Block 2A training software.
On the flight sciences side, the US Marine Corps short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B test programme is further along than that of the F-35C. The previously troubled B-model is now running 20% ahead of this year's planned test schedule, O'Bryan says.
The F-35B has flown at altitudes over 49,000ft and has hits speeds of Mach 1.4. That's just shy of the F-35's required 50, 000 ft ceiling and Mach 1.6 design speed limit, he says. The B-model has also flown at its maximum airspeed of 630 knots and has achieved its maximum 7G limit.
"It's about over 50% complete with its clean-wing full-envelop test points," O'Byan says.
The F-35C is also about 20% ahead of this year's flight test plan, O'Bryan says. Like the F-35B, the C-model has flown out to 630 knots, but the naval variant is required to hit 700 knots. The C-model has also flown at 45, 000 ft and at speeds of Mach 1.4. It has also hit its maximum 7.5G limit.
That means the USN version has completed about 40% of its clean configuration flight envelope test points, O'Bryan says.
Out at Edwards AFB, California, F-35A will have completed 45% of the totality of its flight test points by the end of the year. By the fourth quarter, the F-35A should have competed its first full lifetime of durability testing, O'Bryan says. There have thus far been no new issues that have arisen as a result of the tests.
'That, I'm happy to say, is going well," he says.
The all versions of the jet have started flying with external stores. Later this year, the aircraft will enter into high angle of attack testing up to 50angle of attack, O'Bryan says. The programme will also start wet runway tests, engine air starts, and weapons releases.
PD: siento no traducir o comentar algo más las noticias pero hasta fin de mes voy a seguir bastante liado.
Foto del cañón en vuelo:
F-35 Evades Japanese Budget Radar, Tokyo Orders 4 Aircraft For $480 Million
Jun 29, 2012
Japan has announced today its decision to buy 42 F-35 fighter aircraft from Lockheed Martin despite the elevated cost. Each jet costs approximately $120 million, up from the original $110 million.
http://www.defenseworld.net/go/defensen ... %20Million
Orel escribió:Champi, tienes que seguirnos actualizando sobre este caza
The letter of offer and acceptance, which was signed in Japan, includes four conventional takeoff variants of the F-35 fighter at a cost of 10.2 billion yen ($128.61 million) each, a slightly higher price than the 9.9 billion yen ($124.83 million) than Japan initially budgeted to spend.
But the cost of the two simulators and other equipment dropped to 19.1 billion yen ($240.83 million) from the anticipated level of 20.5 billion yen ($258.48 million) so the overall price remained at 60 billion yen.
The signing was good news for Lockheed and the F-35 program, which is looking to orders from Japan and other countries to help maintain economical production rates at Lockheed's main F-35 plant in Fort Worth, Texas, despite cuts in U.S. orders.
($1 = 79.3100 Japanese yen)
(Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)
Jul. 2, 2012 - 08:49AM | By TOM KINGTON and VAGO MURADIAN
As it cuts its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter order, Italy has confirmed a base sharing plan for its 30 Navy and Air Force short-takeoff, vertical-landing (STOVL) aircraft, which is set to save on maintenance and support.
The fighters — 15 for the Navy and 15 for the Air Force — will be grouped at the Navy’s Grottaglie base in southern Italy, which currently hosts the Navy’s AV-8 Harrier jump jets.
The decision ends a simmering debate between the Navy and Air Force about how many STOVL aircraft each service would receive, a debate that kicked off when Italy cut its order in February.
“The arrangement with the Italian Ministry of Defense, which issued the directive on this, was that the Air Force and Navy would put two squadrons of 15 aircraft in a single base, and we accepted to share the base with the Navy at Grottaglie close to where the [Italian carrier] Cavour is stationed,” said Gen. Giuseppe Bernardis, Italian Air Force chief.
“Supportability is a key issue with two squadrons of 15 and 15 [STOVLs],” Bernardis said. “We think 30 is a number that is sustainable, and that is why we are going together. We will have common support and different advanced training.”
Bernardis said the two squadrons would not fall under one command, nor would Air Force pilots get into the habit of flying from the decks of the Cavour.
“That is something we are not aiming at now, but in case of need, we are ready to do everything,” he said. “We don’t want a replica of the U.K. system where the [Royal Air Force] and Royal Navy Harriers are under one single line of command. The British model creates too many controversies between the two forces.
“But what is important is that we could switch JSF aircraft between the two services,” he said. “The aircraft will be owned by the two forces, but in case of necessity, the Air Force vision is that pilots from one force could fly the aircraft belonging to the other force.”
The Air Force had previously considered basing its STOVLs at its Amendola base in southern Italy, but F-35As will go there instead.
“Amendola was always meant to be a base for the F-35 — whether the B or A model makes little substantial difference,” Bernardis said. “Amendola will receive our first F-35A squadron, so we did not spend money without reason at Amendola.”
The Italian Air Force’s decision to buy the STOVL variant has raised eyebrows in Italy, but Bernardis said he saw a real need for the aircraft.
“We commissioned a Lockheed Martin study 12 years ago about mixed fleet capability and we think in many instances, the use of the F-35B could make the difference between having and not having a suitable runway for land operations,” he said.
“We saw examples of this in the Balkans, as well as in Afghanistan, where we had to ask the Germans to use their runway where they were deployed because we couldn’t operate our Tornados from our main base in Herat,” he added.
“The Marine Corps and the RAF used Harriers in Afghanistan, and the Marines are not just envisaging the use of the F-35B at sea.”
By Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, U.S. Navy
Those developments do not herald the end of stealth, but they do show the limits of stealth design in getting platforms close enough to use short-range weapons. Maintaining stealth in the face of new and diverse counterdetection methods would require significantly higher fiscal investments in our next generation of platforms. It is time to consider shifting our focus from platforms that rely solely on stealth to also include concepts for operating farther from adversaries using standoff weapons and unmanned systems—or employing electronic-warfare payloads to confuse or jam threat sensors rather than trying to hide from them.
(Source: Dutch News; posted July 3, 2012)
Labour MP Angelien Eijsink said on Tuesday her party will enter a motion in parliament to cancel the JSF jet fighter project, according to media reports.
With Labour joining in calls for the project to be cancelled, there is now a parliamentary majority going into a debate on the subject on Thursday.
The Socialist party, anti-immigration PVV, left-wing Liberals D66 and green party GroenLinks all said earlier they want the project stopped.
The small ChristenUnie will introduce a motion for a far-reaching investigation into the cost of the project and how many jobs will lost if it is cancelled.
The JSF was ordered to replace the aging fleet of F-16s, but the rising price of its development and construction has brought growing opposition and the final decision to purchase has been delayed by past coalitions.
The first Dutch JSF jet fighter is currently undergoing fuel system tests. A second is on order.
Eijsink, whose party agreed to support the project in 2002 following advice to then prime minister Wim Kok from four right-wing Liberal VVD ministers, said the government should cut its costs and buy something 'off the shelf'.
The estimated cost of cancelling the project is €1bn.
Defence minister Hans Hillen told nu.nl on Monday he is worried the Netherlands will miss out on important defence orders if the JSF is cancelled.
The Dutch Parliament will debate F-35 acquisition on July 5, but a majority of MPs favor pulling out of the project and instead buying an off-the-shelf fighter.
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