F-35 News and discussion (2016) take III

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Considering the old thread is well over 100 pages, might as well start anew considering there will most likely be considerable activity over the next few days. Kicking it off from old thread the DOTE 2015 Report: DOTE 2015 F-35 report: http://www.dote.osd.mil/pub/reports/...nualReport.pdf link dead, new link- http://www.dote.osd.mil/pub/reports/FY2015/pdf/other/2015DOTEAnnualReport.pdf Interesting snippets: intro iiv-
In order to improve realism of electronic warfare threats at open air ranges, DOT&E is collaborating with the Test Resource Management Center (TRMC) and Army Threat Systems Management Office (TSMO), to procure a fleet of mobile, programmable radar signal emulators (RSEs) designed to replicate a wide variety of modern, ground-based threat air defense radars. These test assets are essential for creating operationally realistic, multi-layered air defense scenarios for open-air testing of many new systems that are required to operate in an Anti-Access Air Denial (A2AD) environment. These systems include the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), F-22, B-2, Long-Range Strike Bomber, and the Next Generation Jammer for the EA-18G, as well as others. intro ix-
DOT&E investigated the need for an aerial target to adequately represent the characteristics of Fifth Generation threat aircraft in light of the emergence of threat aircraft like Russia’s PAK-FA and China’s J-20. The Fifth-Generation Target study effort began in 2006 and examined the design and fabrication of a dedicated 5GAT that would be used in the evaluation of U.S. weapon systems effectiveness.
points of interest:F-35 pg.35-82
After Gen III developmental testing, developmental test pilots reported less jitter, proper alignment, improved ability to set symbology intensity, less latency in imagery projections, and improved performance of the night vision camera.
Based on these Block 3i performance issues, the Air Force briefed that Block 3i mission capability is at risk of not meeting IOC criteria to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) in December 2015. The Air Force recently received its first Block 3i operational aircraft and is assessing the extent to which Block 3i will meet Air Force IOC requirements; this assessment will continue into mid-2016.
For developmental test aircraft without fuel system monitoring, the full Block 2B 7.0 g envelope becomes available at 9,243 pounds, or roughly 50 percent of full fuel capacity. Flight testing to clear the F-35A to the full Block 3F 9.0 g envelope, planned to be released in late 2017, is being conducted with developmental test aircraft with fuel system monitoring. Fleet F-35A aircraft are limited to 3.0 g’s when fully fueled and the allowable g is increased as fuel is consumed, reaching the full Block 2B 7.0 g envelope when approximately 55 percent of full fuel capacity is reached. The program modified the AF-4 test aircraft in October and November with the addition of a relief line, controlled by a solenoid valve, to vent the affected siphon tanks, and a check valve on the inert gas line feeding the tanks. The test team completed testing of the modified design in late November 2015; the results are under review. Until relieved of the g restrictions, operational units will have to adhere to a reduced maneuvering (i.e., less “g available”) envelope in operational planning and tactics; for example, managing threat engagements and escape maneuvers when in the restricted envelope where less g is available
Actual empty aircraft weight was 28,999 pounds, 372 pounds below the planned not-to-exceed weight of 29,371 pounds.
Testing of operational “dog-fighting” maneuvers showed that the F-35A lacked sufficient energy maneuverability to sustain an energy advantage over fourth generation fighter aircraft. Test pilots flew 17 engagements between an F-35A and an F-16D, which was configured with external fuel tanks that limited the F-16D envelope to 7.0 g’s. The F-35A remained at a distinct energy disadvantage on every engagement. Pitch rates were also problematic, where full aft stick maneuvers would result in less than full permissible g loading (i.e., reaching 6.5 g when limit was 9.0 g), and subsequent rapid loss of energy. The slow pitch rates were observed at slower speeds
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http://aviationweek.com/site-files/aviationweek.com/files/uploads/2016/01/DOT%26E%202015%20F-35%20Annual%20Report.pdf I read this about carriage of weapons in the weapons bay:
For the F-35A, the airspeed at which the weapons bay doors can be open in flight (550 knots or 1.2 Mach) is less than the maximum aircraft speed allowable (700 knots or 1.6 Mach). Such a restriction will limit tactics to employment of weapons at lower speeds and may create advantages for threat aircraft being pursued by the F-35A.
Seems like the aircraft cannot actively defend itself at speeds above M1.2 - and needing to launch a missile at a speed below M1.2 robs the missile of energy, doesn't it? This sounds like a hardware issue. Are there plans to fix it or will F-35 have to depend on A2A missiles on under-wing stations when used as a fighter?
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http://aviationweek.com/site-files/aviationweek.com/files/uploads/2016/01/DOT%26E%202015%20F-35%20Annual%20Report.pdf Seems like the aircraft cannot actively defend itself at speeds above M1.2 - and needing to launch a missile at a speed below M1.2 robs the missile of energy, doesn't it? This sounds like a hardware issue. Are there plans to fix it or will F-35 have to depend on A2A missiles on under-wing stations when used as a fighter?
I thought that was interesting too. They don't clarify the issue in the DoT&E report. What makes it particularly odd is that the F-35 had previously flown at mach 1.6 with bay doors open, so it may be a temporary restriction based on what was observed in testing. As with some of the g-restrictions due to the fuel valve, it may be a precautionary measure. Edit- the restriction may related to environmental conditions in the bay, and associated with the airspeed restrictions on keeping the bay closed for over ten minutes at certain altitudes and airspeeds. This is associated with Block 2B, which is not the F-35A IOC configuration. It is very odd that the DOT&E report would talk about operational restrictions on weapon and countermeasure deployment for the F-35A in 2B when there will be no 2B F-35A flying combat coded.

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it is probably because the 2B was declared operational by the USMC.

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Each service determines the criteria it will use for IOC. The Marines wanted the ability to use GBUs for CAS, giving their F-35Bs parity with their AV-8Bs. They got that capability. Air Force and Navy want more capability, so they wait until 3F is complete.
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Shouldn't the title just be "F-35 News and discussion (2016)" since it's the first of 2016? On the Weapon Bay Door issues, only the F-35A was cleared for Mach 1.6 with Block 2B/3i. Since there were not details as to why the door use above 1.2 was not given, it was likely just not tested.
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Shouldn't the title just be "F-35 News and discussion (2016)" since it's the first of 2016? On the Weapon Bay Door issues, only the F-35A was cleared for Mach 1.6 with Block 2B/3i. Since there were not details as to why the door use above 1.2 was not given, it was likely just not tested.
Sure on the title.... Flight sciences testing already flew the "A" to 700 knots with bays open and closed. Considering the other bay restrictions in place, I would think there is a concern that became apparent in testing.

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Each service determines the criteria it will use for IOC. The Marines wanted the ability to use GBUs for CAS, giving their F-35Bs parity with their AV-8Bs. They got that capability. Air Force and Navy want more capability, so they wait until 3F is complete.
Can it really even do CAS? "However, if used in combat, the Block 2B F-35 will need support from command and control elements to avoid threats, assist in target acquisition, and control weapons employment for the limited weapons carriage available (i.e., two bombs, two air-to-air missiles). Block 2B defi ciencies in fusion, electronic warfare, and weapons employment result in ambiguous threat displays, limited ability to respond to threats, and a requirement for off-board sources to provide accurate coordinates for precision attack. Since Block 2B F-35 aircraft are limited to two air-to-air missiles, they will require other support if operations are contested by enemy fi ghter aircraft."

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may be that the issue isn't with the bay doors per se, but during the separation sequence. the F/A-18 has its pylons canted outwards for such a reason, so maybe that the airflow below the aircraft makes the separation difficult/risky above M1.2
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Can it really even do CAS?
Since the SLICCiC is known for blowing things WAY out of proportion, this is most likely a non-issue.

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I found this nugget pretty scary too: Under F35A Flight Sciences "Testing to characterize the thermal environment of the weapons bays demonstrated that temperatures become excessive during ground operations in high ambient temperature conditions and in-fl ight under conditions of high speed and at altitudes below 25,000 feet. As a result, during ground operations, fl eet pilots are restricted from keeping the weapons bay doors closed for more than 10 cumulative minutes prior to take-off when internal stores are loaded and the outside air temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In fl ight, the 10-minute restriction also applies when fl ying at airspeeds equal to or greater than 500 knots at altitudes below 5,000 feet; 550 knots at altitudes between 5,000 and 15,000 feet; and 600 knots at altitudes between 15,000 and 25,000 feet. Above 25,000 feet, there are no restrictions associated with the weapons bay doors being closed, regardless of temperature. The time limits can be reset by fl ying 10 minutes outside of the restricted conditions (i.e., slower or at higher altitudes). This will require pilots to develop tactics to work around the restricted envelope; however, threat and/ or weather conditions may make completing the mission diffi cult or impossible using the work around. For F35B Flight Sciences it says the following: "Testing to characterize the thermal environment of the weapons bays demonstrated that temperatures become excessive during ground operations in high ambient temperature conditions. As a result, during ground operations, fl eet pilots are restricted from keeping the weapons bay doors closed for more than 10 cumulative minutes prior to take-off when internal stores are loaded and the outside air temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Time with the weapons bay doors closed in fl ight is currently not restricted." One cannot help but wonder if the lack of flight restriction in comparison to the A model is due to a lack of testing!

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Since the SLICCiC is known for blowing things WAY out of proportion, this is most likely a non-issue.
Yes I'm sure the guys on the ground will be completely happy with the F35 pilot using a pair of binos... Let me post those words i notice you cut out again. "However, if used in combat, the Block 2B F-35 will need support from command and control elements to ... assist in target acquisition, and control weapons employment...a requirement for off-board sources to provide accurate coordinates for precision attack." Complete non issue, spuddy has spoken. Because spuddy and all the rest of the cheerleaders all know so much more than the professionals who are in the business of identifying risks and issues. Hubris doesn't even begin to describe it.
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Yes I'm sure the guys on the ground will be completely happy with the F35 pilot using a pair of binos...
If this were an actual issue that would result in a long term problem, you would have several leaks by now with lots of details. The lack of leaks speaks volumes.

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If this were an actual issue that would result in a long term problem, you would have several leaks by now with lots of details. The lack of leaks speaks volumes.
Smoke again. The Marines are never going to take the current F35 anywhere near a shooting war. For the very reasons outlined in the report. The point and issue here which has sailed straight past you (or not...) is that a fake and completely pointless IOC has been declared for political purposes. A healthy and positively moving program would not need to sink to such depths to ensure its survival.

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If this were an actual issue that would result in a long term problem, you would have several leaks by now with lots of details. The lack of leaks speaks volumes.
The report is pretty clear: F-35 is not fit for purpose. It is not yet an effective fighter; it is not yet an effective ground attack aircraft.

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there are other gems, like
Testing of operational “dog-fighting” maneuvers showed that the F-35A lacked sufficient energy maneuverability to sustain an energy advantage over fourth generation fighter aircraft. Test pilots flew 17 engagements between an F-35A and an F-16D, which was configured with external fuel tanks that limited the F-16D envelope to 7.0 g’s. The F-35A remained at a distinct energy disadvantage on every engagement. Pitch rates were also problematic, where full aft stick maneuvers would result in less than full permissible g loading (i.e., reaching 6.5 g when limit was 9.0 g), and subsequent rapid loss of energy. The slow pitch rates were observed at slower speeds
"distinct energy disadvantage" vs a heavy f-16D limited to 7G, inability to pull more than 6.5G's while the limit is 9 and, despite the lower G attained (so, more "gentle" manoeuver which should allow for better energy level) it still kept loosing too much energy... Of course, you could always increase FCS response, but if you already loose too much energy at 6.5G's, trying to pull 9 will look like if you tried the same as previously but with a hand-brake on...

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This report is really freaking.. Exactly what i think since the start: "Is it appropriate to commit to a “block buy” given that essentially all the aircraft procured thus far require modifications to be used in combat? Although still officially characterized as low-rate, F-35 production rates are already high. Despite the problems listed above, F-35 production rates have been allowed to steadily increase to large rates, well prior to the IOT&E and official Full-Rate Production (FRP) decision. Due to this concurrency of development and production, approximately 340 aircraft will be produced by FY17 when developmental testing is currently planned to end, and over 500 aircraft by FY19 when IOT&E will likely end and the FRP milestone decision should occur. These aircraft will require a still-to-be-determined list of modifications in order to provide full Block 3F combat capability. However, these modifications may be unaffordable for the Services as they consider the cost of upgrading these early lots of aircraft while the program continues to increase production rates in a fiscally-constrained environment. This may potentially result in left-behind aircraft with significant limitations for years to come. "
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News Flash: Concurrency was a Congressional DEMAND. Besides, "unknown modifications" will for the most part be software since TR2 came in at Block 3i. The money to update all Block 2A & 2B F-25s to Block 3i has already been set aside. Most Concurrency costs have also been put aside so there is not going to be some huge "surprise" cost to getting them up to 3F.

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The amazing thing is that some people try to downplay what the report is saying. The sad thing is that it reflects what many have been musing may be the case for several years. The genius in the program is the way it has been structured to ensure that politically it is nigh on impossible to cancel due to the spread of work across so many US states. The politicians who cancel it run a serious risk of not being re-elected, thus aren't going to cancel it.

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...there is not going to be some huge "surprise" cost to getting them up to 3F.
I'll take the opinion of the professionals over yours ta. Your track record of cheerleading doesn't stand up too well versus the worryingly accurate reports on the program over the years.
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Funny how most everything he brought up in the past got taken care of already. It's almost like the JPO found the issues during SDD and fixed them for some unknown reason :stupid: The SLICCiC's job is to cry "something's wrong" so that it cannot be swept under the rug, which he does just fine. However, he too often speaks in generalities which tends to fuel rampant "Chicken Little" reactions from anyone who will use any excuse to belittle a program, warranted or not. The seat ejection issues are a classic example of this. At the time it was first released to the public, there were articles all over claiming the F-35 will kill it's pilots. With more time & info it was soon understood that it only affects a small portion of the flight regime, potentially affected pilots that currently cannot fly other fighters (IIRC few other fighters has a sub 136lb allowance), will be easily fixed (lighter helmet, bracing, software, etc), and most importantly.... DOES NOT affect any current F-35 pilot.