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F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Contains threads on Joint Service equipment of the past, present and future.

How do you feel about the F-35B for the RN and RAF? (2 votes per member)

GOOD choice for the Royal Navy
117
45%
BAD choice for the Royal Navy
10
4%
Uncertain (RN)
13
5%
GOOD choice for the Royal Air Force
47
18%
BAD choice for the Royal Air Force
36
14%
Uncertain (RAF)
39
15%
 
Total votes: 262

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 23 Jan 2019, 05:32

Ron5 wrote:Officials see an overseas trip for the F-35 as a way of testing the deployability of the aircraft, its associated systems and its personnel.
Worthwhile in itself, even if the a/c were to do nothing operationally
- ALIS supposedly has been underinvested in (and IPR between LM & the US Gvmnt was still under negotiation when I last heard about it... may be someone here knows the state of play?)
Ron5 wrote:Lightning Force Cmdr. Air Cmdre. David Bradshaw told the RAF’s official review, published at year-end, that there had been challenges in moving the aircraft from the U.S. to the UK.

- data, data, data
- Norway & Italy are jointly funding the splitting of mission data off the ALIS file that goes back to the US (... and is readily 'hackable'! May be we should join the effort?)
Ron5 wrote:two more front-line squadrons on top of the current five will be formed. The first of these will become active with 9 Sqdn. this May, dedicated to the QRA and red-air aggressor training mission.
[...]

The second unit, the 12 Sqdn., will be a joint unit with the Qatar Emiri Air Force, supporting the training of Qatari personnel
That's the way I like it: fly all the hrs remaining off those airframes
- the article does not 'solve' the controversy about these sqdrns being pure-bred Tr1 or mixed? Statements in both :wtf: directions have been released

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SKB
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby SKB » 25 Jan 2019, 18:18


NickC
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby NickC » 01 Feb 2019, 11:36

Bloomberg reporting that the Pentagon DOT&E 2019 report saying the early F-35Bs only good enough for life of 2,100 hours, plan was for 8,000 hours lifespan, due to structural problems, unknown if later production aircraft have improved structural life. The original F-35B fatigue testing of the structural airframe was cancelled because it was "no longer representative" of production aircraft. Original F-35B was overweight and 2,700 lbs taken out on re-design. The F-35 JSF has now received funding for a new structural test F-35B airframe for fatigue testing of the current build configuration, but as yet it has not actually acquired airframe and start testing. F-35A airframe did complete its fatigue testing successfully.

The DOT&E have also reported over many years problems with ALIS, now the Pentagon planning to award Lockheed, MIT, Mitre and Spawar new contract to re-write the $ billion software for F-35 ALIS system, which was supposed to provide planning for operations, maintenance and logistics and compared to previous generation aircraft give the F-35 fleet reduced operations and maintenance costs and increase aircraft availability.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 01 Feb 2019, 11:44

NickC wrote:the Pentagon planning to award Lockheed, MIT, Mitre and Spawar new contract to re-write the $ billion software for F-35 ALIS system, which was supposed to provide planning for operations, maintenance and logistics and compared to previous generation aircraft give the F-35 fleet reduced operations and maintenance costs and increase aircraft availability.

Anything more on that?

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby NickC » 01 Feb 2019, 11:51

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
NickC wrote:the Pentagon planning to award Lockheed, MIT, Mitre and Spawar new contract to re-write the $ billion software for F-35 ALIS system, which was supposed to provide planning for operations, maintenance and logistics and compared to previous generation aircraft give the F-35 fleet reduced operations and maintenance costs and increase aircraft availability.

Anything more on that?


Not have seen, apologies for not quoting source - Inside Defense

"Lockheed to team with MIT, MITRE and SPAWAR to re-architect F-35's ALIS
By Courtney Albon
January 31, 2019 at 2:42 PM
The Defense Department is making plans to award Lockheed Martin a new contract to re-architect the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's troubled Autononomic Logistics Information System. The department announced its plan to sole-source the work to Lockheed in a Jan. 18 Federal Business Opportunity notice. F-35 joint program office spokesman Joe DellaVedova told Inside Defense the effort, dubbed ALIS Next, is intended to "provide significant improvements in affordability, supportability, resiliency, and cybersecurity. Lockheed will team with MIT Lincoln Labs, MITRE Corp.,..."

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 01 Feb 2019, 12:26

NickC wrote: ALIS Next, is intended to "provide significant improvements in affordability, supportability, resiliency, and cybersecurity.


Thanks - over the last couple of years their NAO (GAO) has been scathing about what has been delivered (and also about how much budgeting for it has been behind from "full operation"). Whether the question was separate from that (perhaps not?), the Pentagon and LM have been at loggerheads over the related IP
- highlighting these things has brought the wrath of folks I call "techno-infantiles" in various defence forums across Europe... which is just proof of them being fact-free zealots. Suits me fine: gives me a soap box to speak from :lol:

Anyway. ALIS Next is a recognition that the issues have been real :idea:

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby bobp » 01 Feb 2019, 16:14

I think this article explains some of the issues with the ALIS and its reliability, the airframe hours, and the gun.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/02 ... -missions/

topman
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby topman » 01 Feb 2019, 17:28

No great surprise the challenge is absolutely massive, especially on the development of ALIS, it's as bid a job as the aircraft itself.

bobp
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby bobp » 01 Feb 2019, 17:45

Some more information on the redesign of the ALIS system here

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articl ... esign-f_35’s-flawed-alis-computer-backbone.html

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Lord Jim » 01 Feb 2019, 22:45

Lets hope they do a better job that we did with the RAF's Logistics Information Technology Strategy (LITS) that was a multi million pound disaster and was never fully rolled out, but that is a long post for another day and another thread. I'll just say ee ended up calling it "Lost In Time and Space".

topman
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby topman » 01 Feb 2019, 23:06

ALIS is an order of magnitude bigger and more complex than LITS. An app on a phone is probably better and easier to use than Leave It To Someone(else)!

Although having said that it's still going and will be for years yet.

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Lord Jim » 03 Feb 2019, 00:49

It will be interesting to see how ALIS progresses. I remember a presentation in the late 1990s at the DLP where we were told of the new USAF logistics management system, prior to which the service didn't no where at least 40% of its inventory was at any given time. Their solution was very good compared to what we were using at the time using this thing called the internet. We put everything behind walls unconnected to the internet, afraid someone might wee where we stored our loo paper and how much we had. They had everything on line except those things that definitely, positively were not to be accessible. There system seemed to work well and was cost effective. Ours was old and tired and the replacement LITS ended up only being rolled out for the engineering aspects and the logistics side quietly died. I do not know what they use now but most of the work is now in the hands of industry anyway.

topman
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby topman » 03 Feb 2019, 06:54

Supply use MJDI, it's a tri service system.

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby sea_eagle » 05 Feb 2019, 14:07

UK opens High-G training site for fighter jets
https://navaltoday.com/2019/02/05/uk-opens-high-g-training-site-for-fighter-jets/

A new High-G training and test facility used by fast jet pilots in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force to replicate flight in aircraft was opened at RAF Cranwell on February 4.

Developed under a £44m project, the facility will allow pilots to experience up to 9G – nine times the normal gravitational pull of the Earth – and learn how to use their specialist in-cockpit flying equipment to help them cope with these stresses. The centrifuge can accelerate up to 9G in one second and rotate up to 34 times a minute.


I don't think I want to have a go if they ever have an open day :crazy:

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby RetroSicotte » 05 Feb 2019, 14:10

The centrifuge can accelerate up to 9G in one second

Bloody hell!

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SKB
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby SKB » 05 Feb 2019, 14:42

Image
:mrgreen:
(Moonraker, if you're wondering.)

SDL
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby SDL » 05 Feb 2019, 14:44

0-9G in a second? bloody hell

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby dmereifield » 12 Feb 2019, 22:17

https://des.mod.uk/uk-wins-global-500m- ... ssignment/

UK wins global F-35 support assignment worth £500M

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 13 Feb 2019, 08:17

dmereifield wrote:https://des.mod.uk/uk-wins-global-500m-f35-support-assignment/

UK wins global F-35 support assignment worth £500M


Engine repairs still planned to be done in Turkey? "It [the above int'l support contract] will see crucial maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade services for an even wider range of F-35 avionic, electronic and electrical systems for hundreds of F-35 aircraft based globally."

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Timmymagic » 14 Feb 2019, 11:06

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Engine repairs still planned to be done in Turkey?


I think the UK is actually going to do theirs in Norway.
I suspect the Turkey facility will be rather underused and the Italian, Dutch and Norwegian facilities will get more work.

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby bobp » 14 Feb 2019, 21:07


donald_of_tokyo
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 17 Feb 2019, 14:22

Navylookout pointed us to an interesting report on F35A, air-2-air capability.

https://theaviationist.com/2019/02/16/t ... to-emerge/

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby Ron5 » 20 Feb 2019, 19:44

From Aviation Technology:

How the 'Block' 4 F-35 Stealth Fighter Could Become A Navy Killer (And Much More)

New weapon systems due to be integrated in the Block 4 that will significantly expand the F-35’s maritime strike, air-to-ground capabilities and air-to-air lethality.
by Sebastien Roblin

After years of expensive development, the first fully combat-capable Block IIIF F-35 stealth fighter are due to enter service in 2019. However, the Pentagon is already looking ahead to adding dozens of additional capabilities to a follow-up model called the Block 4—an upgrade so ambitious, its already budgeted to cost a whopping $16 billion.

A companion article details the major software and hardware upgrades to the F-35’s sensors, communication and propulsion systems, as well as Block 4’s troubled financial footing. Here, we’ll look at the new weapon systems due to be integrated in the Block 4 that will significantly expand the F-35’s maritime strike, air-to-ground capabilities and air-to-air lethality.

One major addition is the GBU-54/B Stormbreaker, also known as the Small Diameter Bomb II. Like the GPS-guided GBU-39 SDB I already integrated on the F-35, the 208-pound Stormbreaker is only six to seven inches in diameter, allowing eight to be stowed in the F-35’s confined internal weapon bays. If stealth is not a factor, a further sixteen can be stored on the wings.

However, the SDB II can additionally adjust course to hit moving targets in all weather conditions up to forty-five miles away, thanks to its tri-mode guidance options: an uncooled infrared seeker, a millimeter-wavelength active radar, and ability to home in on a target illuminated by laser. It also has datalink enabling two-way communication with launching F-35, allowing adjustment or even cancelation of the strike. The Stormbreaker’s 105-pound shaped charge warhead can lands on average within one meter of its target, and is effective against personnel, boats, and ground vehicles—even including main battle tanks, which have thin top armor.

The Pentagon hopes the Stormbreaker, combined with the F-35’s advanced electro-optical targeting system and synthetic-aperture radar, will enable the policing of potential no-drive zones—that is, areas in which military ground vehicles are forbidden to pass, based on the concept of the no-fly zone interdicting military aircraft.

However, Stormbreakers aren’t cheap at $115,000 each, so the Block 4 may also integrate the shorter-range GBU-54 Laser-JDAM. The 500-pound laser and GPS-guided bomb costs only around $20,000 and can also engage moving targets.

Another weapon due for full integration is the AGM-154 JSOW-C1, a larger thousand-pound glide bomb with a datalink and infrared seeker for terminal guidance designed to penetrate and destroy moving maritime targets up to seventy miles away when released at high altitude. These will give Navy F-35Cs significant maritime-strike capability.

More expensive, longer-range munitions like the far-reaching JASSM-ER and Long Range Anti-Ship Missile may only be integrated in a future Block 5 or Block 6 F-35. As the Lightning can approach closer to defended targets, integrating such long-range weapons is a lower priority. Meanwhile, non-stealthy fourth-generation fighters and bombers can benefit more from their use.

In terms of air-to-air capability, the F-35B is set to gain compatibility with the Block II model of the highly-maneuverable AIM-9X short-range missile, which the pilot can direct using a helmet-mounted sight. The Block II’s Lock-On-After-Launch capability means it can be fired from the F-35’s internal bay without a lock, then, following guidance transmitted via the F-35’s datalink, turn up to 180 degrees towards a target acquired by radar or even optically using the pilot’s helmeted-mounted sight, before finally homing in for the kill using its heat-seeker.

Speaking of the Helmet Mounted Display System, which uses cameras allowing Lightning pilots to “see through” their own plane, that is due be modified for lower weight and will also allow pilots to “look” directly behind them without having to turn fully around.

Addition of dual-rail missile racks for the F-35’s bays will also allow it to carry up to six longer-range AIM-120 air-to-air missiles instead of four, helping mitigate the still significant risk F-35s may be overwhelmed by more numerous aerial adversaries .


Block 4 is also expected to include integration of country-specific weapons requested by foreign F-35 operators, including the U.K.’s SPEAR cruise missile and Meteor anti-aircraft missile (considered to be one the most formidable long-range air-to-air missiles in service), Turkish SOM cruise missiles, and Norway’s Kongsberg Joint-Strike Missile, which can strike land or sea targets with a 500 pound warhead from up to 170 miles away. Norwegian F-35s will additionally even receive special drag-chutes to aid in landing on icy Scandinavian runways.

The F-35 Block 4 may also receive improved engines, and these may be designed to generate significant additional electrical output. Such surplus power could be eventually turned to powering airborne lasers weapon s which could be used to blast incoming air-to-air missiles, ballistic missiles in the launch phase, and even enemy fighters. The Air Force plans to begin testing fighter and bomber-born lasers in the early 2020s, meaning any F-35 lasers weapon integration would likely only occur well after Block 4.

The scariest weapon Block 4 will bring to the F-35 is surely the B-61 Mod 12 nuclear gravity bomb , which has tail fins that can adjust the bomb’s trajectory to strike on average within 30 meters of a designated GPS coordinate. The B-61 has a selectable yield between .3 and 50 kilotons, and has bunker-penetration capabilities. The combination of precision and penetration means it could threaten an adversary’s leadership, command and control facilities, and hardened missile launch sites. As part of a NATO agreement, the U.S. B-61 bombs will also be available for deployment on fellow F-35 operators in NATO.

The forthcoming ability of a frontline F-35s to penetrate hostile airspace with little warning, and potentially deliver a tactical nuclear weapon will surely become a factor in any adversary’s military calculations, for better or worse.

Decisions to escalate to tactical nuclear warfare—that is, using smaller nuclear weapons against frontline military target—may become less appealing, when the likelihood of a deadly riposte by nuclear-armed F-35s must be considered. On the downside, it might also motivate nuclear preemptive strikes on F-35 bases. Also, adversaries uncertain whether F-35s intermittently ghosting on low-bandwidth radars are armed with conventional or nuclear weapons may be driven to escalate to nuclear warfare prematurely.

All in all, the Block 4 upgrade is set to round-out the F-35’s capabilities against a wide spectrum of targets, as well as fulfill promises to foreign F-35 partners to support their domestic weapon systems. But whether the Department of Defense can scrounge the necessary funds, and meet the ambitious development schedule, to deliver the Block 4 on time (and not over its already considerable budget, remains to be seen.

bobp
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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby bobp » 20 Feb 2019, 20:03

Good post Ron very informative as to were the f35 is heading. Hope the UK buys into this with future batches.

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Re: F-35B Lightning (RAF & RN)

Postby SW1 » 20 Feb 2019, 20:57

“The F-35 Block 4 may also receive improved engines, and these may be designed to generate significant additional electrical output”

Most interesting, there will be a few people with a wry smile or two..


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