F-35 Lightning II developments

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F-35 Lightning II developments

Post by Coati »

Yesterday the final SDD F-35A has flown for the first time (AF-4). Status so far:

F-35A (conventional model): AF-1, AF-2 and AF-3 in active flight testing phase at Edwards AFB, AF-4 flying at Fort Worth, to be delivered to Edwards soon.

F-35B (STOVL model): BF-1, BF-2, BF-3 and BF-4 in active flight testing at NAS PAX river, BF-5 is on the flight line at Fort Worth.

F-35C (carrier model): CF-1 in active flight testing at NAS PAX river, CF-2 and CF-3 are on the flight line at Fort Worth.

AA-1 has completed active flying and is used for ground structure tests at Edwards.

So at the end of the year 2010, only three SDD aircraft of the total number of 13 still have to be brought in active flying status (BF-5, CF-2 and CF-3). Till 14 december 2010 531 test flights were made.
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

Post by Coati »

Pratt & Whitney's STOVL Variant F135 Engine Receives Initial Service Release

08:10 GMT, January 4, 2011 EAST HARTFORD, Conn. | Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company, has achieved initial service release (ISR) for the short take off and vertical landing variant (STOVL) F135 engine, marking another major milestone. The propulsion system is now certified as the production configuration and cleared for flight in the Lockheed Martin F-35B stealth fighter. Pratt & Whitney received ISR for the conventional take off and landing/carrier variant (CTOL/CV) F135 engine in February 2010.

“Achieving initial service release for the STOVL propulsion system means all three variants of the F135 engine have met all necessary requirements and proven the safety, reliability and performance of this product. We are one step closer to powering operational flights,” said Bennett Croswell, vice president of F135/F119 Engine Programs, Pratt & Whitney. “I am proud of the F135 STOVL team and our partners at Rolls-Royce, Hamilton Sundstrand and Lockheed Martin for this great program accomplishment. We look forward to seeing the F135-powered Lightning II in operational flight.”

The F135 is in production and is the only engine powering the F-35 Lightning II flight test program today. The F135 CTOL/CV engine and STOVL propulsion system continues to power the F-35 Lightning II with 540 flight tests and more than 750 flight test hours. The F135 has powered all 12 vertical landings and the F135 engine is demonstrating excellent reliability, performance and thrust response. To date, Pratt & Whitney has delivered 12 production F135 engines, including the first two production STOVL propulsion systems.
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

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F-35B STOVL variant is facing cancelation when the program problems are not fixed within two years:

Gates said he also will restructure the F-35 joint strike fighter program. The Air Force and Navy variants of the fighter are on schedule, but the short take-off and landing variant is experiencing significant testing problems.

“As a result, I am placing the STOVL variant on the equivalent of a two-year probation,” Gates said. “If we cannot fix this variant during this time frame and get it back on track in terms of performance, cost and schedule, then I believe it should be cancelled.”

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=62351

Meanwhile, Gates has decided to keep FY2012 (Lot 5) low-rate production of the F-35 to 32 aircraft, the same level as 2011, versus the planned 42 aircraft, although progress of the F-35A and F-35C has been "satisfactory".

More F/A-18E/F Super Hornets will be acquired, alongside life-extended F/A-18C/Ds, to fill Marine and Navy squadrons as a hedge against late JSF deliveries.

More details of changes to the JSF program also emerged, including another delay in the completion of systems development and demonstration (SDD) and a cut-down production ramp. SDD is now delayed to early 2016, versus mid-2015 as planned in the restructuring of the program early last year. SDD finishes with the conclusion of development testing and precedes initial operational testing and evaluation, so the move likely will push initial operational capability (IOC) into 2017. (The individual services are assessing their IOC dates.) This will cost an additional $4.6 billion to the program.

The Fiscal 2012 JSF buy — low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot V — will be held at 32 aircraft, both to reduce concurrency and because “the final assembly process at Fort Worth is still maturing,” Gates says. Deliveries at this point are late by multiple months.

In Fiscal 2013 and later, deliveries will ramp up by a factor of roughly 1.5 per year, for a total of 325 aircraft through LRIP IX (on contract in 2016 and delivered by 2018) versus 449 in the previous plan.

The LRIP IV contract, just signed, will be changed to eliminate all but three Stovl aircraft. The U.S. will buy only six STOVL aircraft in each of the next two LRIP Lots (V and VI), regarded as the minimum needed to sustain the supplier base and unique skills.

Gates indicated in response to questions that a last-ditch appeal by Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos and his predecessor may have saved the B-model from outright cancellation. Gates said the commandants made a convincing argument for more time to fix the program.

The Navy also plans to acquire more Super Hornets and extend the structural life of 150 “classic” Hornets as a hedge against late JSF deliveries. The service will buy 41 more F/A-18s in Fiscal 2012-14.
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

Post by Coati »

Some more details about the restructured F-35 program have emerged:

FY12-16 (USA only):

203 F-35A instead of 260 (-57)
50 F-35B instead of 110 (-60)
72 F-35C instead of 79 (-9)

FY11 will see only 3 F-35B instead of 16 (-13)

As a gap filler for the USN/USMC, there will be orders for 41 additional Super Hornets in FY12-16.

The restructuring does not (yet) affect total numbers of JSF to be ordered, but for now only will make a time shift, but as told before, the F-35B is under probation, and will be axed when problems are not solved in a two year time frame. The F-35A (the version the Netherlands is considering buying) and the carrier variant F-35C are on track with testing and development. The only reason to downscale production is of budgettary reasons and to allow LM more time to mature the production line.

Further, as earlier announced, the flight testing will be boosted with the two LRIP-I F-35A and an extra ordered F-35C, which will increase active flying test aircraft to 15.

As of the status right now, further developments to be posted.
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

Post by Coati »

Also some (small) positive news for the F-35B: STOVL flight testing has resumed the 7th of January after a stand still since September and a second aircraft (BF-2) is now doing STOVL flights (the other one being BF-1). 11 Vertical landings accomplished so far of the 40 to be done before initial ship trials begin in Aug-Sept this year.
Last edited by Coati on 21 Nov 2012, 09:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

Post by Coati »

Both LRIP-1 F-35A aircraft have flown:

AF-6 (07-0744/EG) first flight at 25 February.
AF-7 (07-0745/EG first flight at 4 March.

Both aircraft will be ferried to Edwards AFB to speed up the SSD test program in a month.

In addition BF-5 made it's first flight in January.

So there are 12 active flying F-35s right now.
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

Post by Coati »

U.S. Navy Details JSF Buy
Marine Corps To Fly F-35Cs From Carriers
By CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS
Published: 14 March 2011
The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps strike fighter picture will become clearer under an updated interservice agreement set to be signed March 14, according to a senior defense official.

The Tactical Air memorandum of understanding ratifies the Navy Department's plan to buy 680 F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighters (JSF), and details the exact mix of variants and who will fly them. Of the total, 260 will be Navy F-35C carrier-based aircraft, 80 will be Marine F-35Cs, and 340 will be Marine F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (STOVL) planes.

The agreement also reaffirms that Marine F-35Bs and F-35Cs will continue to rotate in and out of deploying carrier air wings, sharing commitments with Navy F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets and F-35Cs. The Marines will raise the number of carrier-capable squadrons from three to five.

The agreement formalizes an earlier decision not to deploy F-35Bs from carriers, but rather to have all Marine squadrons deploying on carriers flying the same C version as their Navy compatriots. The STOVLs will operate from land bases and amphibious ships.

The first Navy F-35C carrier squadron is set to stand up in December 2015, with the first Marine F-35C squadron following a year later.

By the mid-2020s, according to Navy planners, each carrier air wing will include two Super Hornet squadrons and two Lightning II squadrons. Every fourth F-35C squadron will be a Marine unit.

The Navy continues to plan for a fleet of 10 carrier air wings, with 44 strike fighters per wing, organized into 10- and 12-plane squadrons. The Navy will field 35 strike fighter squadrons composed of Super Hornets or F-35Cs, and the Marines will field five F-35C squadrons.

Ultimately, the Lightnings will serve alongside a fleet of 556 F/A-18 Es and Fs.

There is no intention to field an all-F-35 strike fighter force with any carrier air wing, a senior Navy official said. A new, sixth-generation aircraft will be developed as a follow-on to the F-35, and those aircraft will replace the Super Hornets, the official said. Characteristics of the new aircraft - including whether it will be manned, unmanned or optionally manned - have yet to be determined, the official said.

STOVL Issues

Carrier planners have long wrestled with the issue of integrating the F-35B STOVL onto flight decks. The aircraft are not designed for catapult launch, and would require specific launch-and-recovery operations apart from other aircraft types flown from the ships, the senior Navy official said. They also have different range and ordnance-carrying capabilities than the carrier version.

Development of the STOVL version has hit a number of engineering snags, including weight, power and heat issues, and the program is currently on a two-year Pentagon "probation" to solve those issues.

Gen. James Amos, the Marine Corps commandant, said he believes those issues can be solved before that time, and that the Corps remains committed to the STOVL version.

The Marine F-35s will replace all aircraft in 19 strike fighter squadrons - 12 squadrons flying 261 F/A-18 Hornets, and seven squadrons flying 145 AV-8B Harrier jump jets. All of the current aircraft in those squadrons are to be phased out by 2023.

The new agreement also will relieve the Navy of the need to supply a Hornet squadron to meet Marine land-based expeditionary needs. Those aircraft deploy under the Unit Deployment Program to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. Seven Marine F-35B squadrons will eventually handle those duties.

The updated agreement, a senior Marine official said, also provides for nine F-35B squadrons to work with the seven Marine Expeditionary Units that deploy aboard Navy amphibious ready groups.

Five Reserve squadrons will also fly strike fighters. Three Marine Reserve squadrons will fly the F-35B, one Navy Reserve squadron will operate the F-35C, and one other Navy Reserve squadron will fly single-seat F/A-18E Super Hornets.

Renewal of the Tac-Air agreement, the senior defense official said, allows planners to begin working out more detailed schedules of when individual squadrons will switch to the new aircraft.


Link: http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i= ... =FEA&s=CVS
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

Post by Piet Luijken »

Both AF-6 and AF-7 will be in Eglin in two months time according to speech by Secretary of Defense Gates.
http://www.defense.gov/speeches/speech. ... echid=1543
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

Post by Coati »

Actually AF-6 and AF-7 are intended to reinforce the SDD program and ferry to Edwards AFB next month. So I guess he is meaning AF-8 and AF-9...
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

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http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/20 ... nding.html
DATE:11/03/11
SOURCE:Flightglobal.com

In-flight failure leads to F-35 grounding
By Stephen Trimble

The Lockheed Martin F-35 is grounded while programme officials investigate a dual generator failure and oil leak on the AF-4 test aircraft on 9 March.

The joint programme office has “temporarily suspended” flights by the F-35 until a root cause is determined, the company adds.
http://thehill.com/news-by-subject/defe ... of-funding
Auditors: F-35 will need 'unprecedented' levels of funding to continue

By John T. Bennett - 03/15/11 04:47 PM ET

Government auditors on Tuesday warned the F-35 fighter program will require “unprecedented” amounts of funding and experience further delays as engineers grapple with software development.

“Affordability for the U.S. and partners is challenged by a near doubling in average unit prices since program start and higher estimated life-cycle costs,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) stated in a report delivered to the House Armed Services Committee.

“Going forward, the [F-35 program] requires unprecedented funding levels in a period of more austere defense budgets.”
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

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In-flight failure leads to F-35 grounding
They're back in the air again.
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

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http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/20 ... order.html
DATE:24/03/11
SOURCE:Flight International

GE, Rolls-Royce to self-fund F136 after stop-work order
By Stephen Trimble

General Electric and Rolls-Royce will spend their own money to keep the F136 engine alive as the companies and their supporters in Congress fight a 90-day stop-work order issued on 24 March by the US Department of Defense.

The joint venture has opposed self-funding the alternate engine for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter since 2006, when the DoD first attempted to eliminate the F136 programme's funding.

But the companies were left with no other options after the DoD issued the stop-work order as the debate over the proposed $500 million budget for the F136 in the fiscal year 2011 defence budget continues in Congress.
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

Post by Coati »

F-35 ahead of schedule, even after generator failure.

Author: Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D.
Date: Monday, 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.

http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/f-35- ... a=1&c=1171
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

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Norwegian government will buy an initial batch of 4 training F-35A, to be delivered in 2016. the jets will be based in the USA. The government will buy up to 56 F-35 in the 2018-2021 timeframe. Parliament still has to approve the first buy.


http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks ... 086732.ece

http://www.f-16.net/news_article4325.html
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Re: F-35 Lightning II JSF developments

Post by Coati »

CF-2 made it's maiden flight yesterday. So all SDD aircraft, except CF-3, have flown to date, plus both LRIP-1 aircraft, which will be added to the SDD program. Therefore, 13 F-35 SDD aircraft are active as for now. (and AA-1 has completed it's tests and is grounded).

As of April 5, 2011, the F-35 flight test program has conducted 769 flights total, including 222 flights in 2011. *Flight numbers include production-model flights. As of April 5, 2011, the F-35B variants have completed 64 vertical landings (10 in 2010).


Not yet mentioned here, but the last option in LRIP-IV was exercised: Dutch MoD ordered this aircraft, which will be the 2nd Dutch SDD aircraft.
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