U.S. 6th generation fighter will be equipped with directed energy weapons, which combat targets against China and Russian

Data Figure: U.S. Navy the next F / A-XX aircraft carrier

In today’s world only one fifth-generation fighter – F-22 “Raptor”  has been in service later, do the U.S. need to develop the next generation of fighter aircraft? Why do not mass production of the U.S. F-22 fighter jets, which will air supremacy firmly in control in their own hands? The U.S. military did not give any answers on these questions.

However, recently the U.S. Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) to issue a paper notice, so many people understand what Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the closure of F-22 fighter jet production line really want to do.

To find successors for the F-22

According to Reuters reported on November 5th Air Force has begun to look to the future, exploring the production of Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter subsequent models. Recently, the Air Force Materiel Command to the information industry, issued a consultation notice, requiring industry to provide information on available around 2030 initial operational capability of the “next-generation tactical aircraft systems” concept and the ability to form / information technology needs .

Defense experts believe that this “next-generation tactical aircraft systems” is actually referred to the sixth-generation fighter the Air Force, which is the future F-22 fighter “successor.”

U.S. Air Force requirements in the circular for companies interested in the Dec. 17 response to the information submitted, and hope that the latter can be related to the cost estimates submitted. Congressional Research Service (CRS), a MiG-American military aviation expert Jeremiah Butler, said: “This is the next generation of fighter jets the United States to quantify the technical and tactical targets may be the first step.”

Sixth-generation fighter will be the future look like? What are the characteristics and it will have an unprecedented ability? Some aviation experts in the world after that, the sixth generation of stealth fighter with great ability to effectively carry out several times the speed of sound from the subsonic to all flight modes, with the “variant” capacity; body surface material with intelligence, fighter itself to achieve a high degree of networking; fighters equipped with highly sensitive sensors, the time fighter pilot in the control of arbitrary, to the realm of human unity. Equipped in terms of airborne weapons, directed energy weapons can be a new generation of fighters as “killer.”

This time, the U.S. Air Force in the circular of the sixth generation of fighter aircraft performance is also put forward their own demands. The notice said “the next generation of tactical aircraft systems” must be able to have the airborne electronic attack capability, advanced integrated air defense systems, passive detection equipment, the comprehensive self-defense equipment, directed energy weapons and electromagnetic attack capabilities of the enemy network operations, must be able to 2030 to 2050, the “anti-intervention / regional isolation” in the combat environment.

Notice in the U.S. Air Force also made clear that “the next generation of tactical aircraft systems,” the main task is to carry out the mission offensive and defensive air operations – that is to destroy or weaken the enemy of the air capacity. The machine has completed the U.S. Air Force would also like missile defense, air interdiction and close air support and other tasks. In this circular, the Air Force also proposed that future fighter aircraft may be prepared with greater than the existing range and longer endurance, and better survivability, situational awareness, weapons performance, and “man-machine one “control coordination and sensitivity.

Three companies competing

Although the Air Force refused to comment publicly on its sixth-generation fighter to make the effort, but from the three major U.S. airframe manufacturer Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman’s top aviation Designers say they are very eager to know what the U.S. Air Force requirements for such aircraft.

The sixth-generation fighter the Air Force may be able to like science fiction movies, high-tech products, as more than the fifth-generation stealth fighter, deformation in the flight to seek higher speed or endurance, aircraft engine in flight control to achieve the degree of effect of supersonic or subsonic. Sixth-generation fighter may be equipped with directed energy weapons – that is, high-energy microwave and laser weapons, protects against incoming missiles, can also serve as offensive weapons. Preparation of ammunition they could and are “control” type of weapon, can be played on air or ground targets destroyed from damage to different degrees of damage.

Materials and microelectronics technology will be a sixth-generation fighter large-scale integrated sensor. By then, the nose of the radar may no longer necessary. Moreover, its response may also be highly competent network attacks. However, the construction, use and upgrade costs of the sixth generation aircraft would still be high.

Northrop Grumman said: the development of the next round of aircraft may be dominated by the command and control information. Large amounts of data will be transported to the aircraft pilot. Bank staff will be able to see around the aircraft, “more room.” Aircraft will collect their own data and using on-board or off-sensor analysis of these data. In this regard, the sixth generation is different from the fifth-generation fighter aircraft is that the former is more detail and accuracy.

Boeing believes that the conventional electronic components may also make way for photonic components. The demand for aircraft will be reduced to the wire, connect all the systems will be diverse, fiber optic components, because people that time will be able to use different light. Sensitivity in the sixth-generation fighter on the issue of directed energy weapons play a very important role. “Light” weapons will be “completely denies” the importance of mobility of today’s fighters. In the face of modern warplanes attack directed energy weapons, there is no avoiding the time. In addition, the pulse directed energy weapons can also destroy enemy weapons systems – or the enemy ground systems.

Northrop Grumman’s current research shows that in the next 20 years, this technology will become a reality. In airborne application engine – may be an auxiliary engine – with the support of directed energy weapons to have an “infinite ammunition.”

Russian warplanes target is the sixth generation

According to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates predicted, Russia’s fifth-generation fighters will be deployed in 2016 after the investment, after a few years China is expected to have their own fifth generation fighters. If the mass production of future Sino-Russian fifth generation fighter, then to the mid-2020s, the United States will lose the advantage of Russia’s air combat.

It is for this consideration, the U.S. military are determined to stop the expensive F-22 fighter production, the funds for the next few years, the sixth generation fighter development, to ensure that the U.S. has been great emphasis on air superiority .

F-22 fighter early conceptual studies began in the early 80s, when the F-15 fighters just to achieve mass production. The ability of these concepts into the early action took 20 years. The historical experience of industry leaders that the United States, the United States needs another 20 years to develop the next generation of fighters.

Air Force analysts believe that the U.S. Air Force aircraft inventory for the minimum 2250, 2030, when 971 aircraft the Air Force will appear in the gap. Moreover, this is the assumption that F-35 fighters to as scheduled, at an annual rate of at least 48 production to build and deliver on time. This gap is a F-15 and F-16 due to mandatory retirement – these aircraft have exceeded their service life, to continue the flight, then it may be dangerous.

In this case, sixth-generation fighter the Air Force need to speed up the development pace, as expected, the F-22 and F-35 fighter is a fixed quantity and not enough to fill the next 20 years, the gap between the fighters.

It is noteworthy that the U.S. Air Force fighter in the sixth-generation performance requirements specifically referred to “must be able to between 2030 and 2050 the ‘anti-access / regional isolation’ environment of war”, and “anti-intervention / regional isolation” is word several times in recent years, the Pentagon issued “China Military Power Report,” appeared, the U.S. military that the PLA is currently under the guidance of this strategic goal to develop all aspects of their operational capability and to use “anti-intervention / regional isolation” will block outside of the Western Pacific or Indian Ocean. Therefore, the United States since last year to throw the “air, sea, one of the war” concept, specifically for China’s military rise.

Today, the U.S. fighter in the sixth generation of the performance requirements of the public referred to in the “anti-intervention / regional isolation” combat environment, apparently hoping to become the next generation of aircraft weapon against China’s military power, and thus play a role in deter China.

Fighters “from generation to generation spectrum”

WASHINGTON May Stone River

Defined on the generation of fighter aircraft, has long been a controversial topic. Department under the authority of the U.S. Air Force magazine “AIRFORCE” (“Air Force” magazine) gives their generation fighter division of the world, the magazine that the fighter should be in accordance with the following generations by the broad “lines”:

1-generation fighter: The most important feature of these fighters is just using jet engines. Models for the United States on behalf of the F-80, the German ME 262.

2-generation fighter: The swept wing, in the airborne electronic systems ranging only equipped with radar, air combat weapons are usually equipped with infrared-guided missiles. Models for the United States on behalf of the F-86, MiG -15 the former Soviet Union.

3-generation fighter: to achieve supersonic flight, equipped with radar, capable of striking targets horizon. Prior to the third generation of fighters known as the largest generation of fighters across, on behalf of models for the U.S. F-105, F-4, the former Soviet Union’s MiG -17, MiG -21.

4th generation fighter: fighter equipped with a pulse Doppler radar, high mobility, as can be observed under the use of the missile down the attacks. Models for the United States on behalf of the F-15, F-16, the French “Mirage” 2000, Russia’s MiG -29

4th generation fighters: a very high agility, sensor data fusion, reduce the radar reflection signals. On behalf of the European fighter aircraft, “Typhoon”, Russia, Soviet -30 and improved F-16, F/A-18 and the French “Rafale.”

4-generation fighter: with the active phased array radar, to further reduce radar reflection signal or by a number of “active” invisible means (using the reflection of radar absorbing materials), and some time to achieve supersonic cruise. Model is representative of Soviet Russia and the United States -35 F-15SE.

5th generation fighter: The internal weapon outside of the body in order to achieve full stealth, with very excellent flexible capabilities, fully integrated sensor data, with the integration of avionics, in part or whole range supersonic cruise. Models for the United States on behalf of the F-22 and F-35.

The F35 Joint Strike Fighter: The Wrong Tool For Canada’s Air Force

Now that the Tories have been elected to a majority in the 2011 Canadian government, the controversial proposal to purchase 65 American F-35 fighter jets for the Canadian Air Force is likely to move forward.

The F-35 program has been deeply troubled since its inception. Aside from the projected cost for Canadian taxpayers – almost $30 billion over the 30-year lifespan of the airframe (far larger than the initial estimate of $9 – $16 billion) – the Canadian government’s very participation in the program is a fait accompli: no competitive bidding process to replace Canada’s aging CF-18 fleet was ever entered into (ignoring Ottawa’s own contracting regulations), and no alternatives were ever seriously considered. If Canada stays in the program, the nation pays whatever price the F35 is delivered at.

Most media coverage has focused on the ballooning costs of the program and the lack of a competitive open bidding process. But purchase of the F-35 is wrong for Canada for far more fundamental reasons.


The F-35 is a high-thrust interceptor designed primarily for air-to-air engagements with targets beyond visual range and limited targeting of ground installations after most detection infrastructure has been destroyed, neither function ever used by the Canadian military. That does not mean that the airframe cannot be adapted into other roles, but its suitability for domestic service must be seriously questioned.

Canada’s Future Strategic Concerns

Global warming is pushing Canada’s interests northwards: rising temperatures are opening up the NorthWest Passage to shipping during the spring and summer. Increasingly ice-free areas also allow growing access to resources in the region, including oil, gas, and fishing.

Sovereignty over most of the strait is disputed; Canada considers the area part of her internal waters, meaning that the country could restrict access, inspect and levy cargo, fine polluters, and limit research. The US and many European counties consider the Northwestern passages an international strait. The area will be the primary strategic area for Canada in the 21st century.


If the F35 did enter Canadian service, its most appropriate armament for engagement in northern waters would be the Joint Strike Missile, which would have to be purchased from Norway (Canada is not a development partner for the weapons platform). The range of the JSM is 240 kilometers, and the F35 is only able to carry two of them (more could be carried externally, compromising the F35’s stealth capability).


Effective range of F-35 with external tanks from Canadian Force Bases with airfields.

The effective radius of the F-35 is 590 nautical miles, or 728 nm (1348 kilometers), with external tanks. This is at cruising speed, not full combat thrust. Adding external tanks also degrades the stealth capability of the airframe.

The F-35 can be refueled while in flight, but not from Canada’s two CC-150 Polaris tankers, at least not in any way the F-35 is currently configured. The tankers are principally stationed at 8 Wing Trenton in Ontario, and have a fully-loaded range of 4,630 kilometers. And if an F-35 does successfully mate with a CC-130 it loses its entire stealthed profile.

Canada’s Air Force Wings

There are Air Force bases across Canada, but in regards to the Arctic only three are relevant: 5 Wing Goose Bay, 14 Wing Greenwood and CFB Gander. (The planned military training center in Resolute Bay supports only Army personnel; the deep-water port being built in Nanisivik, on the northern tip of Baffin Island, only Navy).

There are four very small Forward Operating Locations north of the 60th parallel, but they remain deactivated except for brief visits. The FOL’s are in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, Inuvik, Northwest Territories, and Iqaluit, Nunavut.  440 “Vampire” Transport Squadron, operating out of Yellowknife, is the only permanently based Air Force asset in the north.

Adding F35’s To Canada’s Air Force Means No Effective Force Projection Into The Northwest Passage

As you can see from the map above, the operating radius of the F-35 from Goosebay, Greenwood and Gander, even with external tanks, is severely limited.

Effective range of F-35 on internal tanks only from Forward Operating Locations

Deploying the aircraft from the Forward Operating Locations – of which Yellowknife is the only one that is permanently staffed, and all of which would require major upgrades in order to house and maintain F-35’s – still does not provide complete coverage of the Northwest Passage for surveillance or combat. Pushed to their limit and given an exact target location, the aircraft would be able to dip below cloud cover, take one shot, and then be forced to immediately return to base. Scrambled from the FOLs under full combat thrust, they would never make it to the strait at all.

Arctic Night and a Single Engine Is Not a Good Combination

As the Canadian Air Force is pushed further north it will encounter harsher conditions, higher maintenance costs, and inevitable loss of both airframes and lives. The most extreme example of this is CFS Alert, an armed services station for signals and intelligence interception. Alert is the northernmost facility in the world that is permanently inhabited by human beings, who’s motto is The People of the Land Beyond the Land Beyond. The base is in complete darkness from mid October to the start of March, and experiences polar weather year-round; these conditions have caused the loss of two aircraft and fourteen lives in a period of 40 years.

The F35 is a single-engine aircraft; if that engine fails to light while in the air the pilot has little choice but to eject (like most modern fighters, the F35 does not have the ability to glide unpowered; its continued flight depends on constant thrust).

In summary, the F-35 is an airframe that is hugely expensive and remains untested in Canadian conditions. It is neither appropriate for Canada’s traditional military role of the last 60 years – that of peacekeeping support – nor can it fulfill the requirements for the nation’s strategic interests over the next half-century.

As I don’t believe in criticism without providing alternative solutions, an upcoming article will suggest a very different, less expensive and far more effective alternative for Canada’s Air Force.

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Lockheed-Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
Australian Aviation,  April/May  2002
by Carlo Kopp
Part 1 A Cold War Anachronism?

Judging from the media rhetoric in early January this year, one could almost be forgiven for believing that the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was the anointed replacement for Australia’s F/A-18A and F-111 fleets – no doubt to the annoyance of many in Defence who are immersed in the complexities of AIR 6000 capabilities definition. The reality of the Joint Strike Fighter is much less sparkling as many would like us to believe. In this month’s analysis we will explore some of the issues.

The new LM F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has the distinction of being a first in more than one respect. It is the first combat aircraft to leverage the massive US Air Force research & development investment in the F-22 family of aircraft. It is also the first attempt since the 1960s TFX (F-111) program failure to produce a fighter which can meet the needs of all three US services with fighter fleets, as well as the needs of export clients. As the Joint Strike Fighter program includes both conventional, carrier capable and STOVL variants, it is the first ever attempt to create a fighter which spans three very distinct deployment regimes. Finally, it is the first attempt to produce a very low cost aircraft with genuine stealth characteristics.

With the prospect of around 3,000 Joint Strike Fighters for the US services, replacing the F-16A-D, A-10A, F/A-18A-D and AV-8B, and the potential to render all European fighter offerings wholly uncompetitive in the large F-16 and F/A-18 replacement markets, the hope of US manufacturers and their congressional supporters is that the Joint Strike Fighter will become the next F-16 and secure the US industry with an unbeatable advantage in the future commodity fighter market. Greed is a powerful motivator in the Joint Strike Fighter program and one which is likely to see most of the obstacles to this aircraft, and its inherent limitations, ignored in the quest for market dominance.

The history of the Joint Strike Fighter (formerly the Joint Advanced Strike Technology – JAST) program is by any measure colourful, its earliest origins tracing back to technology demonstration programs for a Harrier follow-on for the US Marine Corps and multirole fighter for the US Air Force (refer AA December 2001 and http://www.jsf.mil/). The shrinking US aerospace industrial base soon saw significant congressional pressure applied for the initial technology demonstration goal to be extended into a production fighter program. In its current shape the Joint Strike Fighter program could lead to the production of around 3,000 Joint Strike Fighter variants replacing US Air Force F-16Cs, A-10s, US Navy F/A-18Cs, and US Marine Corps and RAF/RN Harrier variants. The lead service in the Joint Strike Fighter program remains the US Air Force.

From the very outset the principal aim of the Joint Strike Fighter program was to produce a low cost mass production strike aircraft which exploits the latest avionic/computer, stealth and production technologies. Given the incessant political threats of F-22 program cancellation held over the US Air Force through most of the 1990s, limiting the air superiority capabilities of the Joint Strike Fighter was a political imperative – moreso given that air superiority capabilities such as high thrust/weight ratio and sustained supersonic cruise are not very compatible with very low unit cost. If the Joint Strike Fighter were to be too snappy a performer in the air superiority game, the F-22 would have been promptly axed thereby shifting USD 20B or more of production costs back by at least a decade much to the delight of vote buyers in the US Congress.

Indeed as recently as a year ago the US Air Force had to defend the F-22 against repeated political attacks, most of which clearly illustrated the almost total technical illiteracy of the F-22’s critics. Invariably the argument is that the F-22 is too big, too costly, too capable or built around Cold War needs, thus irrelevant to the modern environment and that a Joint Strike Fighter can do the job well enough.

The US Air Force crafted the basic definition of the Joint Strike Fighter – its size, performance, load carrying ability and target cost around its principal tactical strike fighter, the Lockheed-Martin F-16CG/CJ. In the mid 1990s US Air Force force structure model the F-15C flew air superiority and air defence tasks, the F-111F, F-15E and F-117A performed the deep strike penetration tasks, with the latter used in more heavily defended environments. The venerable Fairchild-Republic A-10A Thunderbolt was used for battlefield interdiction and close air support, together with the F-16CG. Defence suppression was performed by the F-16CG, in concert with AGM-130 firing F-15Es, after the retirement of the formidable F-4G Weasel. In this model targets fall into two distinct bands – those within a 400 NMI radius of friendly runways, and those at 600 NMI and beyond.

This force structure model evolved during the latter part of the Cold War, and combined a relatively diverse mix of fighter capabilities. With the 1970s F-111F, A-10 and F-117A, 1980s F-15C/E and F-16C and a mix of weapons with lineages back to the 1960s, this model was a cumulative aggregation of almost three decades of technology and evolving doctrine. This was the force structure which the US Air Force applied with such devastating effect against the SovBloc modelled Iraqi defences in 1991 and it proved itself convincingly.

There is however one important division which can be drawn through this force structure model – size. With the exception of the small single engine single seat F-16, all of these aircraft are large twin engine fighters designed to push the performance envelope in their respective categories.

The ubiquitious F-16 was a uniquely Cold War phenomenon. With NATO and the Warsaw Pact geographically poised along either side of the Iron Curtain, presenting each other with a concentration of force and targets unprecedented in history, significant imperatives existed for both sides to saturate the theatre with high performance fighters. Whoever won the air superiority game over Central Europe held the decisive advantage in the Cold War standoff. Fighter combat radius and endurance over the target are not issues when the geographical environment puts the two largest military forces on the planet head-to-head across a single frontier.

The Light Weight Fighter (LWF) contest saw the GD YF-16 take the laurels and decisive build numbers over the YF-17. The production F-16A was a day-VFR light weight air combat fighter designed for exceptional transonic agility and good supersonic dash performance when clean, armed with Sidewinders and an internal gun. Its principal role was to destroy enmasse the Soviet and allied Warpac strike fighter fleets in close air combat, and then swing into day-VFR battlefield air interdiction and close air support to eradicate Soviet/Warpac land forces, the latter role to be shared with the F-15A, F-4E and F-111D/E/F. With the Soviet/Warpac fighter fleets dominated by the MiG-21, MiG-23/27 and Su-7/17/22 series, the F-16s would have enjoyed a decisively target rich environment.

With the impending retirement of the F-4E Phantom II, the US Air Force needed a substitute to fill the tactical fighter bomber role. The F-16C, equipped with the LANTIRN Terrain Following Radar and FLIR/laser targeting podset, was to fill this niche. With European theatre geography and threats driving this need, the radius of the F-16 airframe was yet again not an issue.

When the Soviet Empire collapsed, the US Air Force was forced into a massive downsizing program. Under significant budgetary pressure, the remaining F-4E and F-4G aircraft were retired, followed by the F-15A, much of the F-16A fleet and early model F-111A/D/E/G aircraft. By the mid to late nineties, the US Air Force fighter fleet comprised primarily the F-15C, F-16C variants, the F-15E and a small number of F-117As. Most of the massive B-52 fleet was retired and the buy of B-2A batwing bombers was chopped from 132 to 60 and then finally 21.

Expectations during this period were that the principal strategic problems the US would confront would be troublesome nations in the Balkans and the Middle East, with ethno-religious conflicts between smaller nation states dominating agenda. In this environment problem nations would be unable to threaten US basing, and the enormous political clout during the Pax Americana period would see easy access to basing. Concurrently the US Congress showed little interest in the defence budget, and the US Air Force faced the prospect of an aging and increasingly expensive to run fighter fleet, in a strategic environment where air superiority and safe in-theatre basing were virtually guaranteed.

This was the environment which shaped the Joint Strike Fighter program – a situation in which combat radius, endurance over the target, air superiority performance and availability of in-theatre basing were not principal design imperatives. Cost and industrial base survival pressures were the foremost drivers in the Joint Strike Fighter program. The US Air Force needed a cheap mass production bomb truck to provide a one-for-one replacement of its aging F-16C inventory. The US aerospace industry needed another F-16A with which to saturate export markets and retain their eroding market position against the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon.

Perhaps the greatest misconception about the Joint Strike Fighter program is that it represents a repeat scenario when compared to the YF-16/F-16A program – a low cost highly agile air superiority fighter designed to exploit cutting edge technology to provide a shorter ranging supplement to the top end twin engine large fighter (then F-15A, now F-22A) of the period. This misconception misrepresents the central design objectives of the Joint Strike Fighter program against the Light Weight Fighter program, and also ignores the decisive role in the F-16 fleet.

In its day the F-16A was perhaps the nastiest close-in air combat fighter in existance, requiring careful tactics by even the top end F-15A air superiority fighter. While the F-16C Block 40/50 is heavier, it is still a respectable air combat fighter even if a dubious bomb truck. The F-16’s central design optimisation was the transonic dogfight, reflected in thrust/weight ratio, wing loading, turn rates, climb rates and acceleration. In these parameters it was competitive against the best in the field, even if it could not compete with the thrust/weight ratio, wing loading, climb rates and acceleration of the F-15A.

The Joint Strike Fighter’s central design optimisation is in-theatre strike, battlefield interdiction and close air support, reflected in forward sector stealth, internal weapons/fuel capacity and cruise efficiency in clean configuration. In these parameters it outperforms the incumbent F-16C and F/A-18A/C, while providing relatively similar air superiority performance to these types. Against the current yardstick for air superiority performance, the F-22A, the Joint Strike Fighter is a non-contender – its 35 degree class transonic wing and 1:1 thrust/weight ratio are adequate for self-defensive purposes but not in the league for rapidly establishing air supremacy.

Just as the joint Tactical Fighter eXperimental (TFX) or F-111A/B program was cast at an early stage into a conceptual mold of a high speed long range bomb-truck, the Joint Strike Fighter has been cast into the mold of an incrementally improved F-16C / F/A-18C class light bomb-truck, exploiting stealth and modern avionics to provide a survivability edge over its predecessors. The TFX program crashed and burned on the evolving needs of the US Navy, who wanted more air superiority performance and lower carrier landing weights.

Some critics of the Joint Strike Fighter argue that it will inevitably go the route of the TFX experiencing cost growth, weight growth and performance loss as it undergoes development and its respective end users load it up with desired design extras to meet their specific needs. Indeed US reports suggest repeated political clashes in recent years, as the US Marine Corps and Navy sought performance and capability improvements which conflicted with US Air Force unit cost targets. Given that the maritime users of the Joint Strike Fighter do not have an F-22 equivalent to gain the high ground in an air battle, it is not inconceivable that we might see downstream disagreements in the Joint Strike Fighter program as these players try to fill this crucial gap in their basic capabilities.

The broader strategic issue for the Joint Strike Fighter will be its basic sizing in a world environment which sees two mutually supporting strategic trends – problem nations acquiring ballistic missiles, both mobile and semi-mobile, weapons of mass destruction, and a concurrent trend to implementing shoot-and-scoot SAM/AAA air defence tactics. In air power theoretic terms, the use of shoot-and-scoot SAM/AAA and ballistic missile/WMD technologies represent an anti-access strategy. Such strategies aim to deny the use of nearby runways by threatening ballistic missile or WMD attacks on runways as well as hosting nations, while providing a persistent and highly mobile air defence threat (A good summary of emerging ballistic missile capabilities in this area is at the FAS website : Iran, North Korea).

Prior to the 11th September, long term US Air Force envisaged a two tier force structure model: the Global Strike Task Force (GSTF) , an Air Expeditionary Force comprising 48 x F-22A and 12 x B-2A, would break the opponent’s air defences and launch high tempo attacks on critical command/control/communications, WMD sites and ballistic missile forces. As the opponent’s defences would crumble, a sustainment Air Expeditionary Force, comprising the Joint Strike Fighter, B-1B and B-52H, would then hammer the opponent to collapse. This model makes two implicit assumptions – the enemy cannot bombard friendly runways with ballistic missiles, and these runways are close enough to permit a viable sortie rate (missions/day) by the Joint Strike Fighter and F-22.

If the opponent chooses to play the ballistic missile bombardment game, then this model does get into some difficulty, since the 400-600 nautical mile range of evolved Scud class missiles presents difficulties for the Joint Strike Fighter – nearby nations might deny basing access and bases which are made available might be shut down by ballistic missile strikes. This is less of an issue for the supercruising F-22, as with decent tanker support it can sustain a high sortie rate from a much greater distance – the F-22 can transit to targets at roughly twice the speed of contemporary fighters and the Joint Strike Fighter.

This was a principal strategic argument against the whole concept of the Joint Strike Fighter prior to the September 11th events. Since then we have seen a pivotal in bombardment tactics, with long endurance loitering bombardment used to successfully engage and destroy fleeting and highly mobile ground targets. This in turn mitigates against smaller fighters and decisively favours aircraft which have larger bomb loads and endurance. The argument that Afghanistan was a one-off does not hold up to scrutiny – a campaign against Iran, Iraq, the PRC or more than one African problem nation could see the very same geographical problem issues arise yet again. Well spoken diplomacy is no match against the threat of domestic terrorism across porous Third World borders, or ballistic missile attacks with conventional or even WMD warheads – all being convincing disincentives to the basing of a US-led Air Expeditionary Force.

Whether one is hunting a high technology Russian mobile SAM system, a mobile ballistic missile system, or a bunch of terrorists in a four wheel drive or BTR-60, the inevitable reality is that the best technique is loitering bombardment which is not the forte of smaller fighters – including the Joint Strike Fighter.

The revived argument in the US promoting new build B-2C batwings and an F-111/FB-111A class regional bomber illustrates this important in the bombardment paradigm – and the increasing long term exposure of close-in based Air Expeditionary Forces to MRBM attacks. The argument pits direct operational needs for striking radius, sortie rates and bombloads in difficult to export or non-exportable top tier assets against the limited yet highly exportable and thus potentially profitable JSF.

Part 2 will compare the F-35/JSF against some in service and production fighter types.

A-10A Thunderbolt II
F-16D dropping GBU-15 EDGE round
Pic.1The USAF intend to use the F-35/JSF as a one-for-one replacement aircraft for their aging fleets of F-16C strike fighters and A-10A battlefield interdictors. Against both types the F-35/JSF provides a significant survivability improvement by virtue of its stealth capability, while it outranges the F-16C on typical strike profiles. The air superiority and air defence tasks of the F-15C and deep penetration tasks of the F-15E and F-117A will be absorbed by the supercruising stealthy F-22A Raptor (US Air Force photos).
Pic.2 F/A-18CThe USN aim to use the F-35/JSF as a replacement for the older F/A-18A-D models, to provide a survivable first day of the war strike fighter to supplement the reduced observable F/A-18E/F in carrier air wings. The navalised JSF has larger wings, stabilators and marginally more fuel than the USAF variant. It will provide a respectable combat radius gain over the F/A-18A-D but will not match the performance of the long departed A-6E Intruder (USN).
Pic.3The USMC, RN and RAF will use the STOVL F-35/JSF variant to replace a range of Harrier variants for operation from unprepared FOBs and STOVL carriers. With a supersonic dash capability, significantly better radius performance and a modern radar, the F-35/JSF is a vast improvement over the sixties technology Harrier family. The Shaft Driven Lift Fan technology will provide better hover performance than the Harrier (US Marine Corps).
B-2A dropping GBU-31
Pic.4 B-2ACurrent USAF planning sees the establishment of the Global Strike Task Force (GSTF) comprising 48 F-22As and 12 B-2As. This silver bullet expeditionary force is intended to demolish opposing air defences and critical WMD targets in the opening phase of an air campaign, upon which a sustainment force of legacy B-52H/B-1B and F-35/JSF fighters completes the bombardment. The JSF is predicated upon having runways within a 400-600 nautical mile class distance of intended targets, thus aligning the aircraft firmly with Cold War period geographical assumptions – a precondition which may not be met in future conflicts (US Air Force).
Pic.5A key issue for the JSF will be the proliferation of medium range ballistic missiles in the 600+ nautical mile range class. With North Korea having supplied this technology to Iran and Pakistan the long term outlook is that proliferation will be very difficult if not impossible to contain. While a supercruising F-22 can sustain a high sortie rate over such distances, the subsonic cruise optimised JSF will suffer a debilitating reduction in sortie rates as distances push out well beyond the design point of 600 nautical miles – both types requiring generous aerial refuelling support (Author/LM).
Part 2 Sizing up the Joint Strike Fighter

The public rhetoric surrounding the Joint Strike Fighter is no less deceptive to the uninitiated as the public rhetoric surrounding many of the other current production types being bid for AIR 6000. In all instances we hear the latest avionics technology and stealth performance as key attributes of a modern high tech fighter designed to meet the threats of the future.In comparing the Joint Strike Fighter against the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, F-16C/B60 and F/A-18E/F, the Joint Strike Fighter will have a decisive advantage in its very moden integrated avionic architecture, which is modelled on that of the F-22A but built using militarised commercial computing technology. With a battery of GigaHertz clock speed processors, high speed digital busses with around 1,000 times the throughput of the Mil-Std-1553B busses in the teen series and Eurocanard fighters, it is no contest – the Joint Strike Fighter is in an unbeatable position. While growth versions of the teen series and Eurocanard fighters might see a similar integrated avionic architecture in the post 2010 period, this is unlikely to be a revenue-neutral design change.Against all of these contenders, the Joint Strike Fighter has an unassailable survivability advantage in its use of evolved second generation stealth technology, again derived from the F-22A technology base. With a forward sector radar cross section cited to be close to the F-22 the Joint Strike Fighter will present a challenging target to forward sector radar guided threats.As a bomb truck, the Joint Strike Fighter falls into a similar payload class to these players, but with the important distinction that it carries its bombs or missiles internally, and it has an internal fuel capacity similar to that of these competing aircraft loaded up with external fuel tanks. In practical terms this means that the Joint Strike Fighter can carry a similar load of fuel and bombs without the critical transonic regime drag penalty of external stores. Therefore it can carry the same bomb load further using a similar fuel load. Claims that the X-35 demonstrator exceeded the Joint Strike Fighter combat radius requirement should come as no surprise – the cited figure of 600+ nautical miles is credible and a distinct gain over the F-16C and F/A-18A/C. This radius is however unlikely to be acheivable if the F-35 is heavily loaded with external stores, since it will like its competitors incur a major drag penalty.Claims that the Joint Strike Fighter is an F-111 class bomb truck are scarcely credible, especially if the F-111 is armed with internal JDAMs or small bombs – a variable geometry wing and 34,000 lb of internal fuel is impossible to beat in the bomb trucking game. The comparison of a clean F-35 against an F-111 loaded with external BRU-3A/Mk.82 is not representative of what a post 2020 F-111 weapons configuration would look like. The only decisive system level advantage the Joint Strike Fighter has against the F-111 is its use of second generation stealth technology – no radar cross section reduction on the F-111 will make it competitive against this type. In terms of avionics, if the RAAF retains the F-111 post-2020 then Joint Strike Fighter generation technology would most likely find its way into the Pig and thus render this comparison meaningless.As an air combat fighter the Joint Strike Fighter is more difficult to compare, since the differences against the teen series and Eurocanards are less distinct. In terms of achievable radar performance its small aperture radar will fall broadly into the same class as its direct competitors. While transonic turn rate performance figures remain classified, the F-35 is a 9G rated fighter and is thus apt to deliver highly competitive transonic close-in dogfight performance against the teen series and Eurocanards. The empty weight of the F-35, at 26,500 – 30,000 lb is deceptive insofar as it must be compared against a conventional competitor’s weight including external pylons and empty fuel tanks – nevertheless it is in the empty weight class of an F-15 or F/A-18E rather than F-16C or F/A-18C.With a nominal payload of 2,000 lb of AAMs the USAF F-35 yields a combat thrust/weight ratio around 1.1:1 which is competitive against a modestly loaded F-16, F/A-18A/C or Eurocanard, but with a typically better combat radius or combat gas allowance – however it is not in the class of an F-15C let alone F-22A. Therefore the F-35 should provide competitive acceleration and climb performance at similar weights to the F-16, F/A-18A/C or Eurocanards. With the upper portions of the split inlets likely to produce good vortices, the F-35 should provide respectable high alpha performance and handling, especially if flight control software technology from the F-22A was exploited fully.Where the F-35 is apt to be less than a stellar performer is in the supersonic Beyond Visual Range combat regime, which is the sharp end of air superiority performance. This is primarily a consequence of the wing planform design which is in the 35 degree leading edge sweep angle class, thus placing it between the sweep of the F/A-18A/C and F-16A/C. Wing sweep in this class is good for transonic bomb trucking and tight turning, but incurs a much faster supersonic drag rise with Mach number against the supersonic intercept optimised wing planforms seen in the F-15, Typhoon, Rafale and indeed the F-22A. The important caveat is that the teen series and Eurocanards wear a hefty supersonic drag penalty from carrying external missiles and drop tanks, whereas the F-35 will have a clean wing in this regime.In the absence of published hard numbers for supersonic acceleration, energy bleed and persistence performance, the only reasonable conclusion is that the F-35 is likely to be competitive against the teen series and Eurocanards in combat configuration but decisively inferior to the F-22A.Another factor in the BVR game is radar performance, limited by the power/aperture of the radar design. While hard numbers on the F-35’s radar are yet to be published, what is available suggests an 800-900 element phased array which is in the class of the F-16C/B60, F/A-18E/F and Eurocanards but well behind the massive 2200 element APG-77 in the F-22A. With a superior processing architecture to the F-16C/B60, F/A-18E/F and Eurocanards the Joint Strike Fighter is very unlikely to have inferior radar performance, but may not have a decisively large detection range advantage either.If used as an air defence interceptor and air superiority fighter, the F-35 will deliver similar capabilities to the F-16C/B60, F/A-18E/F and Eurocanards at similar weights – its limitations in thrust/weight ratio and thus climb rate/acceleration, and wing optimisation for transonic regimes, will limit its ability to engage high performance supersonic threats by virtue of basic aerodynamic performance. Its small radar will also put limitations on achievable BVR missile engagement ranges, although this will be mitigated by very good forward sector stealth performance. A threat with a large infrared search and track set may however get a firing opportunity in a high altitude clear sky engagement. The radar performance bounds will also present similar limitations to those seen with the F-16C/B60, F/A-18E/F and Eurocanard series when hunting for low flying cruise missiles – without close AWACS support the F-35 may not be very effective in this demanding role.It is worth noting that the F-35 is not an all-aspect stealth design like the F-22A and YF-23 which have carefully optimised exhaust geometries and thus excellent aft sector radar cross section. The axisymmetric F-135 nozzle is not in this class and thus the F-35 is clearly not intended for the deep penetration strike role of the F-22A.Attempting to make an all encompassing comparison of the F-35 against current fighters is fraught with some risks, insofar as the design will further evolve before production starts and many design parameters, especially in avionics, may . In terms of basic sizing and performance optimisations probably the best yardstick is that the F-35 is much like a stealthy but incrementally improved F/A-18A/C which closely reflects the similarity in the basic roles of the two types – strike optimised growth derivatives of lightweight fighters.The F-35 is clearly out of its league against the F-22A in all cardinal performance parameters, with the exception of its bomb bay size which is built to handle larger weapons than the F-22A. Disregarding stealth capability and baseline avionics, the F-35 is also out of its league against the F-111 in the bomb trucking role by virtue of size and fixed wing geometry.All of these analytical arguments are essentially contingent upon the JSF meeting its design performance and cost targets. This remains to be seen since the JSF is arguably the highest technological risk program in the pipeline at this time. Key risk factors derive from its reliance upon bleeding edge technology to achieve the combination of capability for its size and cost. There are no less than five areas of concern: the COTS derived avionic system departs from established technology and is in many respects a repeat of the F-111D Mk.II avionics idea; the reliance upon software goes well beyond established designs and software systems with many millions of lines of code are not reknowned for timely deliveries; any durability problems with the hot running F135 engines would be handled by derating which cuts into an already marginal thrust/weight ratio; differing needs and expectations by the JSF’s diverse customer base could cause divergence in program objectives and cost blowouts in common areas; the sheer complexity of what the JSF project is trying to achieve in melding untried technologies with diverse missions could create unforseen problems in its own right. Until we see production JSFs coming off the production line, it remains a high risk option.The Joint Strike Fighter is a most curious blend of the F-22 technology base, state-of-the-art avionics and Cold War era strategic thinking – in its own way as much a Cold War anachronism as the Eurocanards. Insofar as one of its prime design aims is to shoot down the Eurocanards in the commercial dogfight, it represents an instance of an anachronistic fighter sizing strategy and associated cost structure becoming a principal design driver over achievable combat effect and long term strategic usefulness. Joint Strike Fighter vs A6K With the F-35 being the holy grail of budget minded force planners throughout the West, it has developed some followers in the Canberra defence establishment, especially amongst players who see little importance in the RAAF’s established doctrinal and strategic thinking or developing regional environment. Indeed, if we pretend that the PRC doesn’t exist and India’s strategic competition with the PRC in the region doesn’t concern us, and that cruise missiles are not the hottest selling item across the wider region, then the F-35 becomes an attractive proposition – a cheap to buy, cheap to run, stealthy hi-tech fighter which is an incremental improvement over the RAAF’s somewhat anaemic F/A-18A Hornet.As a bomb truck, disregarding stealth performance, the F-35 falls into the gap between the F/A-18A and F-111. As an air combat fighter, it will offer modest performance gains over the F/A-18A HUG and the advantage of stealth. In the eyes of many this is apt to be a good compromise at a good price.These arguments may appear superficially reasonable, but are based upon a number of premises which are not reasonable. Regional strategic issues may have disappeared from the press and TV bulletins but remain as they were a year ago:

  1. The regional arms race has yet to show signs of abating, and with the War on Terrorism forcing the US to make significant political concessions to China and India we should expect to see both players doing their best to shop for Russian (and Israeli) technology while world attention is focussed elsewhere.
  2. Shifting tactics in nations opposed to the West will see mobility become the basic tactic for evading air power, given that Afghanistan has proven yet again that bunkers, caves and tunnels are no defence against air power. Loitering bombardment will become the baseline tactic for defeating mobility, demanding larger fighters.
  3. Mobile ballistic missiles and cruise missiles are the most rapidly proliferating weapon class in Asia today, and given their value in implementing anti-access strategies against Western air power, and political coercion, this is unlikely to change soon. Korea has made a successful business out of the export of extended range Scud derivative technology.
  4. The cumulative total of Su-27/30 orders in Asia still remains around the 500 aircraft mark, representing an environment where a 600 nautical mile class subsonic combat radius is not a decisive strategic advantage against the Sukhoi’s similar or better radius performance.
  5. Turmoil in the Middle East is likely to see long term growth in alternative sources of oil and gas, accelerating development in Australia’s Timor Sea and North West Shelf energy industries – and Australia’s strategic vulnerability as a result.
  6. Uncertainties in the RAAF gaining basing access in South East Asia during a regional crisis remain. While the War on Terrorism may have shifted the focus of Australia’s regional interactions, the reality is that much of the region is culturally Muslim and whatever the outcome of the war, political sensitivies in the region will be exacerbated over the nearer and longer term.

The sad reality is that the regional strategic drivers remain as is – they are a consequence of the ongoing economic and military growth in Asia. While India’s current relationship with the West has thawed, this situation may not persist over coming decades – the strategic timeline which concerns A6K planning.What the War on Terrorism will produce, other than major strategic changes in the Middle East and Central Asia, is an increased move to mobility in Asian armed forces as the Afghan campaign is understood fully. It is also apt to produce a longer term demand for coalition campaign forces to support the US in expeditionary warfare.If we make the assumption that A6K will aim to field only new technology fighters with a very long term development future, then the only relevant candidates are the F-22 and F-35 – both stealthy and using the latest generation avionic architectures and engines.Numerous strategies exist – with or without F-111 replacement – for implementing the A6K program. If the F-111 is to disappear in 2015-2020, then the choices are a single type replacement using only the F-22, or only the F-35, or some Hi-Lo mix of the F-22 and F-35. If the F-111 is to be stretched beyond 2020, then the F/A-18A could be replaced with either the F-22 or the F-35. This provides no less than 5 possible force structure models, each with different funding needs and capability mixes. Which is best? That depends on the priorities of the observer.The case for a mix of F119 powered F-111s and F-22s was argued in some detail in AA late last year and presents a robust case in capabilities, with the benefit of significant domestic spending but the drawback of some developmental risk. The case for an F-22 and F-35 mix depends crucially on the perceived importance of bomb-trucking performance vs survivability of the F-35 against the F-111. The F-35’s stealth advantage must be weighed against the F-111’s superior ability to haul big loads over big distances – with an F-22 escort to kill opposing fighters and SAMs the survivability argument may prove narrower than many may think. A mix in which transonic F-35s escort supercruising F-111s is arguably non-viable and is merely a new technology reimplementation of the existing F/A-18 and F-111 mix.The alternatives of single type total force replacements with the F-22 or F-35 also raise interesting issues. While the F-35 at this time carries larger bombs than the F-22, it is a decidely inferior performer in the air combat game and the deep penetration strike game. With supercruise capability in a baseline bombing role using small bomb payloads the supercruising F-22’s higher sortie rate at longer ranges suggests that one F-22 can perform a similar workload to a pair of F-35s, with the caveat that two or more F-35s will be needed to perform the air defence coverage of a single F-22. In terms of deterrent credibility and potency in combat, the F-22 is unbeatable, in terms of political whining from air power detractors of every ilk, it is a guaranteed magnet (deja vu – F-111 1967?). Conversely, a pure F-35 force structure is apt to leave important capability gaps in air superiority, cruise missile defence and deep penetration strike, while pushing up total numbers and thus aircrew demands – the latter likely to be a major long term issue with ongoing demographic shifts.A key factor in any F-22 vs F-35 contest is that the F-35 order book is full, but the F-22 buy was hatcheted from around 750 down to 332 thus providing significant incentives for an export sale of an aircraft which would be exclusively available, like the F-111 during the 1960s, only to close and trusted allies of the US. US sources suggest a revived build of 750 F-22s would push the unit cost down to USD 74M, similar to an F-15E.Which of these strategies proves to be most attractive to Australia’s leadership is yet to be seen – and if the government is serious about the A6K effort this will not be known until a decision is reached around the middle of the decade.What is clear at this stage is that the fighter market is stratifying in a manner without precedent – two decades ago a buyer had more than one choice in any given size/weight/performance class. By 2010 this will be untrue – in non-stealthy fighters there is apt to be only the F/A-18E/F and Typhoon with different weights, aerodynamics and mission avionic capabilities, and in stealthy fighters the F-22 and F-35 which are much more diverse in capabilities than their teen series predecessors, the F-15 and F-16. Therefore a choice of fighter will determine the choice of strategy/doctrine since different classes of fighter provide distinctly different possibilities – and limitations – in roles and missions.One might ask the question of whether the classical model of a fighter competition is even relevant any more? With the only gains from the competitive process likely to be in ancillary benefits such as domestic support programs – aircraft prices being largely fixed by the domestic markets of the manufacturers – one might seriously contemplate the primary focus of the A6K evaluation being in assessing the ability of particular fighter types or mixes/numbers thereof to perform the intended roles, rather than the historical game of playing manufacturers off to secure the best pricing package.In the context of A6K, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is most notable in terms of the roles and missions it cannot do well, rather than those it can. If air superiority and long range strike are the long term priorities which government policy ostensibly declares them to be, then the F-35 may not be the best choice for replacing the F/A-18A or the F-111, either singly or in a mix.

Pic 1The comparison table is based upon provisional data and some assumptions about profiles and weapon loads. Nevertheless, it illustrates the significant disparity between the F-111, F/A-18A and F-35/JSF in the critical loitering bombardment regime against mobile targets. Loiter performance is also relevant for air defence operations as it determines how frequently the fighter must top up from a tanker to maintain station at a given radius [Ed: NB the F/A-22A fuel figures represent pre-FSD/LRIP configuration] (Author, L-M).
Pic.2 F-22AThe F-35/JSF is frequently portrayed as a cheaper, single engined F-22. This is a dangerous misrepresentation, since key design optimisations in the JSF wing and thrust/weight ratio make it anything but a performer in the class of the F-22A. The F-22A offers all aspect low observable (stealth) performance intended for deep penetration strikes, and is much superior to the F-35/JSF. With the ability to penetrate higher, faster and with greater stealth, the F-22 is a significantly more survivable strike aircraft than the F-35/JSF (USAF).
Pic.3 F/A-18AProbably the best contemporary equivalent to the F-35/JSF is the late build F/A-18C which is primarily used as bomber in USN service. The F-35/JSF is an incremental improvement over the F/A-18A-D in virtually every parameter, and has low observable performance which no teen-series or Eurocanard can compete with. The F-15C class empty weight and 18-19 klb class internal fuel capacity of the F-35/JSF are deceptive – as a stealthy aircraft it must carry internally the fuel an F/A-18A-C carries in external tanks on a basic profile (RAAF).
Pic.4 F-111The F-35/JSF is often described as a natural F-111 replacement due to its basic design optimisation for bomb trucking. This comparison is highly misleading, insofar as the USAF regard the F-111A/C/D/E/F/FB-111A as being in the regional bomber category rather than strike fighter category. With just over 50% of the internal fuel capacity of an F-111, the F-35/JSF cannot be directly compared. In strike operations the F-35/JSF has one genuine advantage over the F-111 – third generation low observable technology – which makes it much more survivable against top end SAM threats (RAAF).
Pic.5 F-35/JSFThe F-35/JSF is likely to devastate the Eurocanards in the export market, as most potential clients in the Far East, Middle East and Europe will be attracted to the F-22 generation avionic package, stealth capability and performance gains over their existing F-16A-D and F/A-18A-D export fighters. In an environment where top end air superiority performance and combat radius are non critical performance parameters, the F-35/JSF is apt to be an attractive proposition. The Australian environment, where combat radius and air superiority performance are vital for a small force defending a large area, is not the design target of the JSF (USAF).

Here’s Why The F-35 Is Going To Be The Allied Fighter Of The 21st Century

Robert Johnson | Dec. 21, 2011, 2:00 PM | 95,884 | 36

Image: Lockheed Martin

It’s no secret that spiraling F-35 development costs have made the aircraft the most expensive weapons project ever, it’s a project that’s become almost too big too fail.Japan’s announcement that it is buying 42 F-35s gives a much needed credibility boost to Lockheed, which continues to reel from a string of serious problems outlined by in a November 2011 Pentagon report obtained by the Project on Government Oversight.

Check out the pictures and facts about the F-35 >

All told, for 20-years of service, Japan expects to pay about $1 billion a year for its fleet of F-35s, and many potential buyers are questioning whether it’s worth it. The Lockheed fighter is great for penetrating enemy defenses undetected, doing its thing and getting back to base safely — all reasons that make the jet a sensible purchases for potential buyers like South Korea and India.But Australia has committed to the F-35, and Singapore is slated to give its final decision in October, and as Trefor Moss at The Diplomat points out, both countries have far greater defensive needs than the F-35 may provide.Canada has signed on for the F-35 to replace its fleet of CF-18s, with Britain, the Netherlands, Italy and Israel also vocalizing their intentionsto snatch up the fighter for their troops.With the list of buyers and potential buyers continuing to grow, the threat of a budget cut on the program from the U.S. is diminished and the likelihood that Lockheed will remedy the planes faults improves. The only question that remains is how long this will take.Buyers have a choice of three configurations for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. While all three share 80 percent of their parts the variations are:

  • F-35A, conventional take off and landing (CTOL) variant.
  • F-35B, short-take off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant.
  • F-35C, carrier-based CATOBAR (CV) variant.

Lockheed promises the F-35 will be four times more effective than contemporary fighters in air-to-ground combat, three times more effective in reconnaissance and suppression, with better range, improved support, and equal costs.Regardless of which configurations allies choose or how long it will take to get them, the F-35 likely has too many countries, that have invested too much, to ever let it fail.

Three models: CTOL: conventional takeoff and landing, STOVL: short takeoff vertical landing, CATOBAR: catapult Assisted Take Off Barrier Arrested Recovery

The Air Force will buy 1,763 conventional models and the Navy will take 680 short takeoff and carrier models

Britain, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Turkey, Italy, and Austria will contribute $4.8 billion apiece to development and intend to purchase 700 aircraft

Israel became the first foreign buyer, when it placed a $2.75 billion deposit to buy 19 F-35s, intending to purchase 75 of the fighter jets over time

Other interested countries include Singapore, South Korea, Finland, Spain, Greece, and Belgium

At just over 50-feet long, the F-35 hits Mach 1.6, has a range of up to 1,200 nautical miles, and can carry 18,000 pounds of weapons

The Pentagon says it will cost about $1 trillion to maintain and operate the F-35 over the next 50-years

Lockheed officials say operating and maintaining the F-35 will cost about half the amount to maintain older fighters

Including research and development the cost of each F-35 now stands at about $304 million

The F-35 is named after the World War II twin-prop Lockheed P-38 Lightning

Pentagon sources say that in 2007 and 2008 hackers stole several terabytes of F-35 development data, potentially allowing enemies to create defenses against the system

In February 2010 the government withheld $614 million to Lockheed over delays and cost overruns

The final configuration of the F-35 isn’t expected to be complete until 2018

The F-35 is only one component in the US arsenal

Autonomic Logistics (AL)
Because logistics support accounts for two-thirds of an aircraft’s life cycle cost, the F-35 will achieve unprecedented levels of reliability and maintainability, combined with a highly responsive support and training system linked with the latest in information technology. The aircraft will be ready to fight anytime and anyplace. Autonomic Logistics (AL) is a seamless, embedded solution that integrates current performance, operational parameters, current configuration, scheduled upgrades and maintenance, component history, predictive diagnostics (prognostics) and health management, and service support for the F-35. Essentially, AL does invaluable and efficient behind-the-scenes monitoring, maintenance and prognostics to support the aircraft and ensure its continued good health.

Commonality is the key to affordability – on the assembly line; in shared-wing platforms; in common systems that enhance maintenance, field support and service interoperability; and in almost 100 percent commonality of the avionics suite. Component commonality across all three variants reduces unique spares requirements and the logistics footprint. In addition to reduced flyaway costs, the F-35 is designed to affordably integrate new technology during its entire life cycle.
Thumbnail: Chart comparing common  parts between each of the three variants.
Distributed Aperture System
In a joint effort with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems will provide key electronic sensors for the F-35, which includes spearheading the work on the Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS). This system will provide pilots with a unique protective sphere around the aircraft for enhanced situational awareness, missile warning, aircraft warning, day/night pilot vision, and fire control capability.
Thumbnail: Diagram of Distributed Aperture System
Diverterless Inlet
The F-35’s diverterless inlet lightens the overall weight of the aircraft. Traditional aircraft inlets were comprised of many moving parts and are much heavier than newer diverterless inlets. The diverterless inlet also eliminates all moving parts.
Thumbnail: Divertless Inlet
Electro-Optical Targeting System
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems are jointly providing key electronic sensors for the F-35 to include the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS). The internally mounted EOTS will provide extended range detection and precision targeting against ground targets, plus long range detection of air-to-air threats.
Thumbnail: Electro-Optical Targeting System
Helmet Mounted Display System
Vision Systems International, LLC (VSI) is developing the most advanced and capable Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) for the F-35. Utilizing extensive design experience gained on successful production Helmet Mounted Displays (HMD), the F-35 HMDS will replace the traditional Head-Up-Display (HUD) while offering true sensor fusion.
Thumbnail: Electro-Optical Targeting System

Integrated Communications, Navigation and Identification Avionics
Northrop Grumman Space Technology’s integrated avionics satisfy the requirements for greatly increased functionalities within extreme space and weight limitations via modular hardware that could be dynamically programmed to reconfigure for multiple functions. This “smart”-box approach delivers increased performance, quicker deployment, higher availability, enhanced scalability and lower life cycle costs.Interoperability
The F-35 will have the most robust communications suite of any fighter aircraft built to date. The F-35 will be the first fighter to possess a satellite communications capability that integrates beyond line of sight communications throughout the spectrum of missions it is tasked to perform. The F-35 will contain the most modern tactical datalinks which will provide the sharing of data among its flight members as well as other airborne, surface and ground-based platforms required to perform assigned missions. The commitment of JSF partner nations to common communications capabilities and web-enabled logistics support will enable a new level of coalition interoperability. These capabilities allow the F-35 to lead the defense community in the migration to the net-centric warfighting force of the future.Low Observability
An integrated airframe design, advanced materials and an axisymmetric nozzle maximize the F-35’s stealth features.Multi-Function Display System
An 8″x20″ Multi-Function Display System (MFDS) will be the panoramic projection display for the F-35. MFDS employs leading edge technology in projection engine architecture, video, compression, illumination module controls and processing memory – all of which will make the MFDS the most advanced tactical display. One-gigabyte-per-second data interfaces will enable the MFDS to display six full motion images simultaneously. The adaptable layout will be easily reconfigurable for different missions or mission segments. Projection display technology will provide a high-luminance, high-contrast, and high-resolution picture with no viewing angle effect.Multi-Mission Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems is developing the Multi-Mission Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar for the F-35. This advanced multi-function radar has gone through extensive flight demonstrations during the Concept Demonstration Phase (CDP). The radar will enable the F-35 JSF pilot to effectively engage air and ground targets at long range, while also providing outstanding situational awareness for enhanced survivability.Propulsion
The F-35 Propulsion Systems are the most powerful fighter/attack turbofans in the world. There are two manufacturers with propulsion systems currently being tested. The propulsion systems are interchangeable and both will power the F-35. There are two major engine variants for the F-35. One engine will power the CTOL and CV versions of the aircraft, while the other will power the STOVL version. The F135 engine is made by Pratt & Whitney, the F136 by a team, known as the Fighter Engine Team comprised of General Electric and Rolls-Royce. Both the F135 and the F136 STOVL engines will utilize common exhaust and Lift System systems.

The Pratt & Whitney F135 family of advanced propulsion systems utilize cutting edge technology to provide the F-35 with higher performance than conventional fighter aircraft. The engine consists of a 3-stage fan, a 6-stage compressor, an annular combustor, a single stage high-pressure turbine, and a 2 stage low-pressure turbine.The F135 is currently in the SDD phase. The F135 is using the lessons learned from the F119 engine core and the JSF119 during the CDA stage to reduce risk in SDD. During SDD the F135 test engines will undergo a range of ground and flight tests to simulate various mission profiles. In these tests the system demonstration engines will be run for hours throughout various flight envelopes to ensure they meet performance requirements. One of the vital milestone tests occured at the end of 2003 with the first F135 engine to test.The first CTOL F135 engine test occurred on 11 October 2003. The first STOVL F135 engine test occurred on 14 April 2004. To date over 2,000 hours have been accumulated on the F135 test engines.F136
The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team (FET) F136 engine is currently in the Pre-SDD phase. The objective of the F136 Pre-SDD phase is to reduce risk prior to entering SDD. The FET is utilizing technology developed from previous aircraft engine programs to design this engine. The F136 engine consists of a 3-stage fan, 5-stage compressor, a 3-stage low-pressure turbine section and a single stage high-pressure turbine.The F136 team will transition into the SDD phase of their program later in 2005. The F135 and F136 teams are working closely to develop common propulsion system components.The first CTOL F136 engine to test occurred on 22 July 2004. The first STOVL F136 engine to test occurred on 10 February 2005. To date, the F136 team has accumulated over 130 hours of engine tests.Rolls-Royce Lift System
While Rolls-Royce is a member of the Fighter Engine Team with GE on the F136, they are also subcontracted to Pratt & Whitney on the F135 to provide the Lift System for the F-35. The Lift System is comprised of the Lift Fan, Clutch, Drive Shaft, Roll Posts and the Three Bearing Swivel Module (3BSM).Shaft Driven Lift Fan (SDLF)
Lockheed Martin developed the idea for a Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) lift system that uses a vertically oriented Shaft Driven Lift Fan (SDLF). A two-stage low-pressure turbine on the engine provides the horsepower necessary to power the Rolls-Royce designed Lift Fan. The Lift Fan generates a column of cool air that provides nearly 20,000 pounds of lifting power using variable inlet guide vanes to modulate the airflow, along with an equivalent amount of thrust from the downward vectored rear exhaust to lift the aircraft. The Lift Fan utilizes a clutch that engages the shaft drive system for STOVL operations. Because the lift fan extracts power from the engine, exhaust temperatures are reduced by about 200 degrees compared to traditional STOVL systems.The SDLF concept was successfully demonstrated through a Large Scale Powered Model (LSPM) in 1995-96 and during the flight-testing of the X-35B during the summer of 2001. The Lift Fan, a patented Lockheed Martin concept, was developed and produced by Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, Indiana and in Bristol, England.

Robust Structure
Continuous tailhook-to-nose-gear structure and catapult-compatible nose gear launch system are strengthened for catapult and arresting loads.

Sophisticated Cockpit
The F-35 provides its pilot with unsurpassed situational awareness, positive target identification and precision strike under any weather condition. Mission systems integration and outstanding over-the-nose visibility features are designed to dramatically enhance pilot performance.
Thumbnail: F-35 Cockpit
Weapons Integration
The F-35 will employ a variety of US and allied weapons. From JDAMs to Sidewinders to the UK Storm Shadow, the F-35 has been designed to carry either internally or externally a large array of weapons.
Thumbnail: Weapons Placement

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Home » China military » Reputation can not be less than F-35 range standoff attack in the People’s Liberation Army

Reputation can not be less than F-35 range standoff attack in the People’s Liberation Army

Date:2011-09-02Author:adminCategory:China militaryComment:0

The article said that the U.S. Navy has been considering reducing the F-35 fighter purchase number The article said the U.S. Navy has been considering reducing the F-35 fighter purchase quantityLONDON Nov. 2 news: According to Navy Times, October 31, citing U.S. defense analysts as saying, As the F-35 fighter aircraft in flight can not support the U.S. blockade against People’s Liberation Army weapons outside the region to start operations, the U.S. Navy has been considering reducing the F-35 fighter purchase quantity. The Netherlands recently an authoritative defense analysts report that the view of the F-35 construction costs continue to rise, the threat facing all countries is changing, and new types of manned and unmanned aircraft have been put into use, the U.S. F-35 fighter total production than the program may eventually dropped by half.report analyst John in September this year in Boulder, submitted to the Dutch parliament’s defense analysis report, an assessment that, F-35 fighters of the final yield may be 2500 or so. Seoul won in the report also revealed that, as nine in the F-35 program developed by one of the countries, the Netherlands from the original plan to buy 85 reduced to 57. Yue Hanbo Tokuji that, F-35 fighter production will be reduced so that now stands at $ 100 million stand-alone costs continue to increase.if you win Seoul’s projections are accurate, then the final F-35 fighter aircraft manufacturing capacity will be far less than the manufacturer Lockheed Martin’s original 4500 sales forecast. The U.S. military has forecast sales of F-35 will reach 6000.Lockheed Martin has publicly refuted the results of the analysis win Seoul, said the company expected the F-35 sales decline does not occur. The company spokesman said, F-35 production has been very stable number, get a great deal of political and budgetary support, “F-35 fighter production will not change, even if the change is to increase rather than reduce production,” because “several one hundred fighters have close to retirement age of active duty, while nine projects funded outside the country have expressed their purchase of the F-35′s interest. ”However, the U.S. defense analysts 巴里瓦特斯 win Seoul’s analysis is recognition that the F-35 fighters than the final production plan to reduce by half. Watts said, from the historical experience the F-35 sales is difficult to optimistic. He explained that the United States before the F-35 fighters had four stealth fighter project: F-117, A-12, B-2 and F-22, the U.S. military has expressed the need for 2378 of these four types of aircraft, But in the end only bought 267. “The U.S. military now plans to buy 2443 F-35 fighters,” Watts said, “If history is a useful reference, then I think the most difficult to achieve procurement plan.”Watts served as the U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. Watts that the U.S. Air Force Although they claim to want to buy 1763 F-35 fighter, but will probably only buy 800 – 1000 架 F-35, because the Air Force has decided to retain A-10 and F-15E fighter long-term service.In addition, Watts also disclosed that the U.S. Navy is also considering buying back the number of F-35 fighters, because it is insufficient to support the range of U.S. aircraft carriers in China and other countries are developed area denial weapons against outside the scope of taking action, while the U.S. Navy carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicles is expected to provide a greater range of needs.Lockheed Martin spokesman insisted that the United States will continue to plan to buy 2443 F-35 fighters, the British will buy 138, the other seven projects in the F-35 total R & D national plan purchase 700. “There is no indication of participating countries will reduce the F-35 fighter purchase quantity.” The spokesman said. In addition to the above 3281, Lockheed Martin also hopes to Israel, Japan, Korea and other customers sold the F-35, total sales expected to reach 4500 or more.but won the Seoul that the U.S. military procurement of the F-35 commitment is wavering. At first the U.S. military plans to buy 2978 F-35 fighters, but in 2005 reduced the number to be purchased at more than 500 aircraft and even lower. In 2007, the United States in turn purchase 515 F-35 fighter was delayed to 2028 and 2035, which makes the outside world that the U.S. could eventually significantly reduce or even abolish F-35 fighter procurement plans. (Compiled: Spring)


F-35 Lightning Fighter Jet

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a fifth-generation, single-seat, single-engine, stealth-capable military strike fighter, a multirole aircraft that can perform close air support, tactical bombing, and air superiority fighter missions.

The F-35 has three different models; one is the conventional takeoff and landing variant, the second is short takeoff and vertical-landing variant, and the third is a carrier-based variant.The F-35 is descended from the X-35, the product of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Its development is being principally funded by the United States, with the United Kingdom, and other partner governments providing additional funding. It is being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems as major partners. Demonstrator aircraft flew in 2000, with the first flight on 15 December 2006.F-35A CTOL 3 View Picture SchematicDevelopment
The JSF program was created to replace various aircraft while keeping development, production, and operating costs down. This was pursued by building three variants of one aircraft, sharing 80% of their parts:F-35A, conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant.
F-35B, short-takeoff and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant.
F-35C, carrier-based (CV) variant.
The F-35 is being designed to be the world’s premier strike aircraft through 2040. It is intended that its close and long-range air-to-air capability will be second only to that of the F-22 Raptor. Specifically the F-35’s requirements are that it be: four times more effective than legacy fighters in air-to-air combat, eight times more effective in air-to-ground battle combat, and three times more effective in reconnaissance and suppression of air defenses. These capabilities are to be achieved while still having significantly better range and require less logistics support than legacy aircraft.F35 Aircraft Launches MissileOrigins and selection
The Joint Strike Fighter evolved out of several requirements for a common fighter to replace existing types. The actual JSF development contract was signed on 16 November 1996.The contract for System Development and Demonstration (SDD) was awarded on 26 October 2001 to Lockheed Martin, whose X-35 beat the Boeing X-32. DoD officials and British Minister of Defence Procurement Lord Bach, said the X-35 consistently outperformed the X-32, although both met or exceeded requirements. The designation of the fighter as “F-35” came as a surprise to Lockheed, which had been referring to the aircraft in-house by the designation “F-24”.f35 cutaway drawingDesign phase
The F-35 was in danger of missing performance requirements in 2004 because it weighed too much — reportedly, by 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg) or 8 percent. In response, Lockheed Martin added engine thrust and shed more than a ton by thinning the aircraft’s skin; shrinking the weapons bay and vertical tails; rerouting some thrust from the roll-post outlets to the main nozzle; and redesigning the wing-mate joint, portions of the electrical system, and the portion of the aircraft immediately behind the cockpit.On 7 July 2006, the U.S. Air Force officially announced the name of the F-35: Lightning II, in honor of Lockheed’s World War II-era twin-prop P-38 Lightning and the Cold War-era jet, the English Electric Lightning. English Electric Company’s aircraft division was incorporated into BAC, a predecessor of F-35 partner BAE Systems. Other names previously listed as contenders were Kestrel, Phoenix, Piasa, Black Mamba and Spitfire II. Lightning II was also an early company name for the aircraft that became the F-22 Raptor.F35 Fighter Aircraft LogoDesign
The F-35 appears to be a smaller, slightly more conventional, one-engine sibling of the sleeker, two-engine F-22 Raptor, and indeed drew elements from it. The exhaust duct design was inspired by the General Dynamics Model 200, a 1972 VTOL aircraft designed for the Sea Control Ship. Lockheed teamed with the Yakovlev Design Bureau, developer of the Yakovlev Yak-141 “Freestyle”, in the 1990s. Stealth technology makes the aircraft difficult to detect as it approaches short-range tracking radar.Some improvements over current-generation fighter aircraft are:
Durable, low-maintenance stealth technology;
Integrated avionics and sensor fusion that combine information from off- and onboard sensors to increase the pilot’s situational awareness and improve identification and weapon delivery, and to relay information quickly to other command and control (C2) nodes;
High speed data networking including IEEE 1394b and Fibre Channel.Cockpit
The F-35 features a full-panel-width “panoramic cockpit display (PCD)”, with dimensions of 20 by 8 inches (50 by 20 centimeters). A cockpit speech-recognition system (Direct Voice Input) is planned to improve the pilot’s ability to operate the aircraft over the current-generation. The F-35 will be the first U.S. operational fixed-wing aircraft to use this system, although similar systems have been used in AV-8B and trialled in previous U.S. jets, particularly the F-16 VISTA. In development the system has been integrated by Adacel Systems Inc with the speech recognition module supplied by SRI International.F-35 STOVL IMAGEA helmet mounted display system (HMDS) will be fitted to all models of the F-35. While some fourth-generation fighters (such as the Swedish JAS 39 Gripen) have offered HMDS along with a head up display (HUD), this will be the first time in several decades that a front-line tactical jet fighter has been designed to not carry a HUD.The pilot flies the aircraft by means of a right-hand side-stick and left-hand throttle, both of which are supplied by BAE Systems.The Martin-Baker US16E ejection seat is used in all F-35 variants. The US16E seat design balances major performance requirements, including safe terrain clearance limits, pilot load limits, and pilot size. It uses a twin-catapult system that is housed in side-rails.F-35 Lightning Takeoff (CTOL)Engines
Two different jet engines are being developed for the F-35; the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136. The STOVL versions of both powerplants use the innovative Rolls-Royce LiftSystem, patented by Lockheed Martin and built by Rolls-Royce. This system is more like the Russian Yak-141 and German VJ 101D/E than the preceding generation of STOVL designs, such as the Harrier Jump Jet.The LiftSystem is composed of a lift fan, driveshaft, clutch, 2 roll posts and a “3 Bearing Swivel Module” (3BSM). The 3BSM is a thrust vectoring nozzle which allows the main engine exhaust to be deflected downward at the tail of the aircraft. The lift fan near the front of the aircraft provides a counter-balancing thrust. Somewhat like a vertically mounted turboprop within the forward fuselage, the lift fan is powered by the engine’s low-pressure (LP) turbine via a driveshaft and gearbox. Roll control during slow flight is achieved by diverting pressurized air from the LP turbine through wing mounted thrust nozzles called Roll Posts.lockheed martin f35 fighter in flightThe F-35B lift fan achieves the same ‘flow multiplier’ effect as the Harrier’s huge, but supersonically impractical, main fan. Like lift engines, this added machinery is just deadweight during horizontal flight but provides a net increase in payload capacity during vertical flight. The cool exhaust of the fan also reduces the amount of hot, high-velocity air that is projected downward during vertical takeoff (which can damage runways and aircraft carrier decks). Though complicated and potentially risky, the lift system has been made to work to the satisfaction of DOD officials.Armament
The F-35 includes a GAU-22/A four-barrel 25 mm cannon. The Cannon will be mounted internally with 180 rounds in the F-35A and fitted as an external pod with 220 rounds in the F-35B and F-35C.Internally (current planned weapons for integration), up to two air-to-air missiles and two air-to-ground weapons (up to two 2,000 lb bombs in A and C models; two 1,000 lb bombs in the B model) in the bomb bays. These could be AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-132 ASRAAM, the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) — up to 2,000 lb (910 kg), the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW), Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) — a maximum of four in each bay, the Brimstone anti-armor missiles, Cluster Munitions (WCMD) and High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM). The MBDA Meteor air-to-air missile is currently being adapted to fit internally in the missile spots and may be integrated into the F-35. The UK had originally planned to put up to four AIM-132 ASRAAM internally but this has been changed to carry 2 internal and 2 external ASRAAMs. It has also been stated by a Lockheed executive that the internal bay will eventually be modified to accept up to 6 AMRAAMs.

Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning JSF (STOVL) Fighter Jet Stealth Video

At the expense of being more detectable by radar, many more missiles, bombs and fuel tanks can be attached on four wing pylons and two wingtip positions. The two wingtip pylons can only carry AIM-9X Sidewinders, while the AIM-120 AMRAAM, Storm Shadow, Joint Air to Surface Stand-off Missile (JASSM) cruise missiles and 480 gallon fuel tanks can be carried in addition to the stores already integrated. An air-to-air load of eight AIM-120s and two AIM-9s is conceivable using internal and external weapons stations, as well as a configuration of six two thousand pound bombs, two AIM-120s and two AIM-9s. With its payload capability, the F-35 can carry more air to air and air to ground weapons than legacy fighters it is to replace as well as the F-22 Raptor.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

F-35 Lightning II 8:53 AM

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a fifth-generation, single-seat, single-engine stealth multirole fighter that can perform close air support, tactical bombing, and air defense missions. The F-35 has three different models; one is a conventional takeoff and landing variant, the second is a short take off and vertical-landing variant, and the third is a carrier-based variant.
The F-35 is descended from the X-35, the product of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Its development is being principally funded by the United States, with the United Kingdom and other partner governments providing additional funding. It is being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems as major partners. Demonstrator aircraft flew in 2000, with the first flight on 15 December 2006.
The United States intends to buy a total of 2,443 aircraft for an estimated US$323 billion, making it the most expensive defense program ever. The USAF’s budget data in 2010 projects the F-35 to have a US$89 million flyaway cost based its planned production of 1,753 F-35As.

Autonomic Logistics (AL)
Because logistics support accounts for two-thirds of an aircraft’s life cycle cost, the F-35 will achieve unprecedented levels of reliability and maintainability, combined with a highly responsive support and training system linked with the latest in information technology. The aircraft will be ready to fight anytime and anyplace. Autonomic Logistics (AL) is a seamless, embedded solution that integrates current performance, operational parameters, current configuration, scheduled upgrades and maintenance, component history, predictive diagnostics (prognostics) and health management, and service support for the F-35. Essentially, AL does invaluable and efficient behind-the-scenes monitoring, maintenance and prognostics to support the aircraft and ensure its continued good health.

Commonality is the key to affordability – on the assembly line; in shared-wing platforms; in common systems that enhance maintenance, field support and service interoperability; and in almost 100 percent commonality of the avionics suite. Component commonality across all three variants reduces unique spares requirements and the logistics footprint. In addition to reduced flyaway costs, the F-35 is designed to affordably integrate new technology during its entire life cycle.

Distributed Aperture System
In a joint effort with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems will provide key electronic sensors for the F-35, which includes spearheading the work on the Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS). This system will provide pilots with a unique protective sphere around the aircraft for enhanced situational awareness, missile warning, aircraft warning, day/night pilot vision, and fire control capability.

Diverterless Inlet
The F-35’s diverterless inlet lightens the overall weight of the aircraft. Traditional aircraft inlets were comprised of many moving parts and are much heavier than newer diverterless inlets. The diverterless inlet also eliminates all moving parts.

Electro-Optical Targeting System

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems are jointly providing key electronic sensors for the F-35 to include the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS). The internally mounted EOTS will provide extended range detection and precision targeting against ground targets, plus long range detection of air-to-air threats.

Helmet Mounted Display System

Vision Systems International, LLC (VSI) is developing the most advanced and capable Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) for the F-35. Utilizing extensive design experience gained on successful production Helmet Mounted Displays (HMD), the F-35 HMDS will replace the traditional Head-Up-Display (HUD) while offering true sensor fusion.

Integrated Communications, Navigation and Identification Avionics
Northrop Grumman Space Technology’s integrated avionics satisfy the requirements for greatly increased functionalities within extreme space and weight limitations via modular hardware that could be dynamically programmed to reconfigure for multiple functions. This “smart”-box approach delivers increased performance, quicker deployment, higher availability, enhanced scalability and lower life cycle costs.

The F-35 will have the most robust communications suite of any fighter aircraft built to date. The F-35 will be the first fighter to possess a satellite communications capability that integrates beyond line of sight communications throughout the spectrum of missions it is tasked to perform. The F-35 will contain the most modern tactical datalinks which will provide the sharing of data among its flight members as well as other airborne, surface and ground-based platforms required to perform assigned missions. The commitment of JSF partner nations to common communications capabilities and web-enabled logistics support will enable a new level of coalition interoperability. These capabilities allow the F-35 to lead the defense community in the migration to the net-centric warfighting force of the future.

Low Observability

An integrated airframe design, advanced materials and an axisymmetric nozzle maximize the F-35’s stealth features.

Multi-Function Display System

An 8″x20″ Multi-Function Display System (MFDS) will be the panoramic projection display for the F-35. MFDS employs leading edge technology in projection engine architecture, video, compression, illumination module controls and processing memory – all of which will make the MFDS the most advanced tactical display. One-gigabyte-per-second data interfaces will enable the MFDS to display six full motion images simultaneously. The adaptable layout will be easily reconfigurable for different missions or mission segments. Projection display technology will provide a high-luminance, high-contrast, and high-resolution picture with no viewing angle effect.

Multi-Mission Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar

Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems is developing the Multi-Mission Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar for the F-35. This advanced multi-function radar has gone through extensive flight demonstrations during the Concept Demonstration Phase (CDP). The radar will enable the F-35 JSF pilot to effectively engage air and ground targets at long range, while also providing outstanding situational awareness for enhanced survivability.


The F-35 Propulsion Systems are the most powerful fighter/attack turbofans in the world. There are two manufacturers with propulsion systems currently being tested. The propulsion systems are interchangeable and both will power the F-35. There are two major engine variants for the F-35. One engine will power the CTOL and CV versions of the aircraft, while the other will power the STOVL version. The F135 engine is made by Pratt & Whitney, the F136 by a team, known as the Fighter Engine Team comprised of General Electric and Rolls-Royce. Both the F135 and the F136 STOVL engines will utilize common exhaust and Lift System systems.

Robust Structure
Continuous tailhook-to-nose-gear structure and catapult-compatible nose gear launch system are strengthened for catapult and arresting loads.

Sophisticated Cockpit

The F-35 provides its pilot with unsurpassed situational awareness, positive target identification and precision strike under any weather condition. Mission systems integration and outstanding over-the-nose visibility features are designed to dramatically enhance pilot performance.

Weapons Integration

The F-35 will employ a variety of US and allied weapons. From JDAMs to Sidewinders to the UK Storm Shadow, the F-35 has been designed to carry either internally or externally a large array of weapons.


General characteristics
Crew: 1
Length: 51.4 ft (15.67 m)
Wingspan: 35 ft (10.7 m)
Height: 14.2 ft (4.33 m)
Wing area: 460 ft² (42.7 m²)
Empty weight: 29,300 lb (13,300 kg)
Loaded weight: 44,400 lb (20,100 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 70,000 lb (31,800 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofan
Dry thrust: 28,000 lbf (125 kN)
Thrust with afterburner: 43,000 lbf (191 kN)
Internal fuel: 18,480 lb (8,382 kg)

Maximum speed: Mach 1.67 (1,283 mph, 2,065 km/h)
Range: 1,200 nmi (2,220 km) on internal fuel
Combat radius: 610 nmi (1,110 km) on internal fuel
Service ceiling: 60,000 ft (18,288 m)
Rate of climb: classified (not publicly available)
Wing loading: 91.4 lb/ft² (446 kg/m²)
With full fuel: 0.84;
With 50% fuel: 1.04 B:
g-Limits: 9 g

Guns: 1 × GAU-22/A 25 mm (0.984 in) cannon  internally with 180 rounds
Hardpoints: 6× external pylons on wings with a capacity of 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) and 2 × internal bays with 2 pylons each for a total weapons payload of 18,000 lb (8,100 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of:
Air-to-air: AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-132 ASRAAM, AIM-9X Sidewinder, IRIS-T
Air-to-ground: AGM-154 JSOW, AGM-158 JASSM
Mark 84, Mark 83 and Mark 82 GP bombs
Mk.20 Rockeye II cluster bomb
Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser capable
Paveway-series laser-guided bombs
Small Diameter Bomb (SDB)
B61 nuclear bomb (in 2017)

Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems AN/APG-81 AESA radar

Posted by கவினன்[Kavinan] 0 comments

US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program Progress, Photos & Videos

I didn’t see a specific thread about this aircraft and its progress, pictures, videos, etc, so thought I would start one as it has the potential to have such a huge impact on US and other nation’s military.

Latest info in the two following videos:

Two F-35B (STOVL) US Marine variant Operate off of the USS LHD USS Wasp:

An F-35C (Navy variant) is launched from EMALS, the new electromagentic catapault for the US Navy’s Ford class super aircraft carriers:

For pictures here on sinodefenceforum, see my gallery:

Jeff Head’s F-35 Picture Album:

Jeff Head’s SinoDefenceForum F-35 Photo Album

For a good read and write-up on the F-35 overall, see the following site:

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The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Please post articles and particularly project updates regarding the aircraft, including pictures and videos to this thread.

Early in 2011 there were a total of 19 F-35s already built, 13 F-35As for the US Air Force, 4 F-35Bs for the US Marines, and 2 F-35Cs for the US Navy. Throughout 2011 eleven more F-35s have been added for a total of 30 aircraft by the end of 2011.

The first production delivery of an F-35A to the US Air Force occurred in May of 2011. A total of eight production aircraft for the US Air Force have now been built.

Current plans call for, starting in 2012 and through 2014, the production rate to be about three aircraft per month…and then ramp up to full production thereafter. By that time, the US will have built 148 aircraft.

Last edited by Jeff Head; 12-01-2011 at 04:14 PM. Reason: Corrected some typos

Re: US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program Progress, Photos & Videos

Click this bar to view the original image of 800x588px.

Re: US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program Progress, Photos & Videos

the current production batch is LRIP-4 (Low Rate Initial Production 4) with each LRIP with different numbers of airframes produced/procured

the first international/partner country airframe produced is UK F-35B
Lockheed Completes First U.K. Joint Strike Fighter – Defense News

here is F-35 dev schedule

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F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II

On 2 November 2011, USAF Major General Jay Lindell told House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces that the USAF would declare the initial operating capability (IOC) for the F-35A based on achieving the required Operation Requirements Document-compliant capability and capacity criteria, and not on a specific date. Furthermore, the USAF was analyzing the impacts to program delivery timelines due to the most recent program restructure. The results of that analysis were expected to be available later in 2011, at which time the USAF would reevaluate its IOC estimate. As of June 2010, the estimated IOC date for the USAF’s F-35A was some time in 2016. Major General Lindell suggested that the USAF was subsequently expecting the IOC estimate to be revised by the end of 2011 to be sometime in 2018.

This reassessment was linked to a Technical Baseline Review completed in November 2010, which became the basis for additional program restructuring within the FY12 President’s Budget. Major General Lindell noted during his November 2011 testimony that the “The [F-35] program continues to experience challenges as it transitions from development to production despite the significant accomplishments.” From January 2011, the F-35 as a whole had experienced numerous cost increase issues, largely stemming from continued issues with the Marine Corps’ F-35B STOVL variant. Complications with the F-35B, which had been a factor in the program for the preceding decade (including a major wing redesign for the F-35B as opposed to the other variants), led to a reduced initial buy of F-35B aircraft, the need for an infusion of additional funds into the F-35B’s System Design and Development, and the decision to decouple testing from the USAF F-35A and US Navy F-35C variants. F-35B SDD was only expected to be completed by 2016 as of January 2011. That the F-35A and F-35C development had been directly linked to the F-35B until that point had adversely affected the IOC estimates for both of those aircraft, as well as the unit costs for those variants.

JSF is a joint, multinational acquisition program for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and eight cooperative international partners. Expected to be the largest military aircraft procurement ever, the stealth, supersonic F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) will replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied defense forces worldwide. The program’s hallmark is affordability achieved through a high degree of aircraft commonality among three variants: conventional takeoff/landing (CTOL), carrier variant (CV) and short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft. Innovative concepts and advanced technologies will significantly reduce weapon system life-cycle costs while meeting the strike weapon system requirements of military customers. Procurement is planned to continue through 2026 and possibly beyond. JSF aircraft may well stay in service until 2060 or longer.

The program began in November 1996 with a 5-year competition between Lockheed Martin and Boeing to determine the most capable and affordable preliminary aircraft design. On 26 October 2001 the Pentagon announced that Lockheed-Martin had won the largest military contract ever, a possible $200 billion competition to build the Joint Strike Fighter. Air Force Secretary Jim Roche said on the basis of strengths, weaknesses and degrees of risk of the program that the Lockheed-Martin team was the winner on a “best- value” basis. He said Lockheed-Martin was a clear winner over the team led by Boeing. Total cost of the contract to enter the systems development and demonstration phase is $19 billion. Pratt and Whitney has a $4 billion contract to design and build propulsion systems for the craft. The British will contribute $2 billion to the program.

Lockheed-Martin teamed with Northrop Grumman and British Aerospace on the project. Pete Aldridge, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said that both teams “met or exceeded the performance objectives established for the aircraft and have met the established criteria and technical maturity for entering the next phase of the program.”

The Lockheed Martin X-35 was chosen over the competing Boeing X-32 primarily because of Lockheed’s lift-fan STOVL design, which proved superior to the Boeing vectored-thrust approach. The lift fan, which is powered by the aircraft engine via a clutched driveshaft, was technically challenging but DoD concluded that Lockheed has the technology in hand. The lift fan has significant excess power which could be critical given the weight gain that all fighter aircraft experience.

Lockheed Martin Corp. is developing the F-35 at its fighter aircraft plant in Fort Worth, where the new stealth warplane is expected to provide about 9,000 jobs over the next three to four decades. Northrop Grumman Corp. is to build the F-35’s center fuselage in California and BAE Systems the aft body in England.

For much of the free world’s military forces, the F-35 represents the future- a new family of affordable, stealthy combat aircraft designed to meet the twenty-first-century requirements of the US Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. The program is truly international in its scope and participation: Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Australia, and Norway recently joined the F-35’s system development and demonstration (SDD) phase. All SDD partners will be active in the F-35’s development process and stand to gain economically from the program.

The JSF aircraft design has three variants: conventional takeoff and landing variant for the Air Force, aircraft carrier-suitable variant for the Navy, and short takeoff and vertical landing variant for the Marine Corps, the United Kingdom, and the Air Force. These aircraft are intended to replace aging fighter and attack aircraft currently in the inventory.

Historically, the 1970s saw development and production of many outstanding aircraft which comprise much of today’s U.S. fighter inventory. The combination of service-life exhaustion and escalating threats will require all three services to slowly retire their current fighter aircraft. The British Royal Air Force Harriers and Royal Navy Sea Harriers – aircraft that first flew more than 30 years ago – are encountering similar problems. The F-35 JSF will affordably replace the aging fleets, while also supporting the existing and expanding roles and requirements of F-35 JSF customers.

The Air Force’s F-35A version of the craft is a conventional takeoff and landing airplane to replace the F- 16 Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt II. It will partner with the F-22 Raptor. The Marine Corps, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force need and want a short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft, dubbed the F-35B. The Marines want new aircraft to replace their AV-8B Harriers and F/A-18 Hornets. The British want to replace Sea Harriers and GR.7 Tornado fighters. The Navy’s F-35C version of the plane is a carrier-based strike fighter to complement the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. It will replace earlier versions of the F/A-18 as well as the A-6 Intruder, which already has left the inventory.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be:

  • Four times more effective than legacy fighters in air-to-air engagements
  • Eight times more effective than legacy fighters in prosecuting missions against fixed and mobile targets
  • Three times more effective than legacy fighters in non-traditional Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) and Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses and Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD/DEAD) missions
  • About the same in procurement cost as legacy fighters, but requires significantly less tanker/transport and less infrastructure with a smaller basing footprint

The program’s objective is to develop and deploy a technically superior and affordable fleet of aircraft that support the warfighter in performing a wide range of missions in a variety of theaters. The single-seat, single-engine aircraft is being designed to be self-sufficient or part of a multisystem and multiservice operation, and to rapidly transition between air-to-surface and air-to-air missions while still airborne. To achieve its mission, the JSF will incorporate low observable technologies, defensive avionics, advanced onboard and offboard sensor fusion, and internal and external weapons.

Plans call for the F-35 to be the world’s premier strike aircraft through 2040. It will provide air- to-air capability second only to the F-22 air superiority fighter. The plane will allow the Air Force forces to field an almost all-stealth fighter force by 2025. The Navy and Marine variants will be the first deployment of an “all-aspect” stealth airplane.

The goals for the F-35 are ambitious: to be a single-pilot, survivable, first-day-of-the-war combat fighter with a precision, all-weather strike capability that uses a wide variety of air-to-surface and air-to-air weapons- and that defends itself in a dogfight. The F-35 program emphasizes low unit-flyaway cost and radically reduced life-cycle costs, while meeting a wide range of operational requirements. The stretch in combat radius means that the pilot can operate with reduced dependence on air refueling and can have significantly greater time on station for close air support or combat air patrol missions.

Survivability, a cornerstone of F-35 design, is enhanced foremost by the aircraft’s radar-evading properties. Stealth capability, available for the first time in a multirole fighter, will minimize the threat to the pilot during operations in heavily defended areas. The aircraft also is configured with advanced countermeasures to reduce the effectiveness of enemy defenses.

Integral to the aircraft’s low-observable equation is the large internal-weapons bay. When stealth is not required, the F-35 also can carry wingtip air-to-air missiles and up to 15,000 pounds of external ordnance mounted on underwing pylons. A pneumatically powered ordnance-release system replaces the traditional cartridge-powered equipment. This new design greatly reduces maintenance requirements. The internal 25 mm cannon will enable pilots to engage targets from higher altitudes and longer range.

The F-35’s mission systems are designed to return the pilot to the role of tactician and to increase combat effectiveness dramatically. Next-generation sensors will provide the pilot coherent and fused information from a variety of onboard and off-board systems. Sophisticated data links will connect the aircraft to both ground-combat elements and airborne platforms. In addition to fighter-to-fighter data links, the F-35 will be equipped with satellite-communications capability for both transmitting and receiving.

The aircraft’s onboard sensor suite is optimized to locate, identify, and destroy movable or moving ground targets under adverse weather conditions. This all-weather capability is achieved with the aircraft’s advanced electronically scanned array (AESA) radar built by Northrop Grumman. The AESA enables simultaneous air-to-ground and air-to-air operations. It can track moving ground targets and display them on a radar-generated terrain image, enabling precise target location relative to terrain features. These instruments, coupled with off-board sensors, will make the F-35 capable of all-weather close air support under the most demanding conditions.

An internally mounted electro-optical targeting system (EOTS) is installed in the nose of the F-35, enhancing both air-to-ground and air-to-air capabilities. The EOTS will provide long-range, high-resolution targeting-infrared imagery; laser-target designation; and battle-damage-assessment capability. This system will provide pinpoint weapons-delivery accuracy for close air support and deep-strike missions.

A distributed-aperture-infrared sensor system will provide full spherical infrared coverage around the aircraft. In addition to providing warnings of missile launches, information from the system can be displayed on the pilot’s helmet visor, permitting the pilot to see “through” the airplane’s structure in all directions, and eliminating the need for night-vision goggles. This system will dramatically increase the ability of the F-35 to conduct any type of mission at night.

The F-35 team is crafting an exceptionally lethal, survivable, and supportable next-generation strike aircraft. Compared with the aircraft it will replace, the F-35 will provide significant improvements in range, payload, lethality, survivability, and mission effectiveness. Uniting stealth with advanced mission systems and high maneuverability, the F-35 will bring revolutionary twenty-first-century capabilities to the battle space.

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F-35 JSF Weapon Carriage Capacity

      Does the Joint Strike Fighter have an internal gun? What are the weapon loads? It does not seem to have as much internal space as the F-22.

– question from NicholasThe primary purpose of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is to fulfill the ground attack duties now performed by aircraft like the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-18 Hornet, and AV-8B Harrier. In other words, the JSF is often referred to as a “bomb truck” that will attack ground targets once the skies have been cleared of any enemy fighter threat by dedicated air superiority fighters like the F-22 Raptor and F-15 Eagle.

The biggest driver behind the overall design of the JSF is affordability. The military needs to purchase a large quantity of this class of aircraft to complement larger and more capable planes like the F-22 and F-18E/F Super Hornet that are too expensive to buy in large quantities.

It is these two factors–its mission as a ground attack platform and the need for low cost–that largely dictate the size, layout, and weapons carriage capabilities of the F-35.

X-35 research plane and prototype for the F-35 JSF
X-35 research plane and prototype for the F-35 JSFSince the F-35 is primarily intended to be a replacement for the F-16, it is not surprising that the JSF is of roughly the same overall dimensions as the older craft. The F-22, by comparison, is much larger and comparable in size to the F-15 that it was designed to replace. The overall sizes of the F-16, F-22, and the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) version of the F-35 that will be purchased by the US Air Force are compared below.

Comparison of the F-16, F-35, and F-22
Comparison of the F-16, F-35, and F-22It is also not surprising that the weapons to be carried by both the F-35 and F-22 are comparable to those carried by the F-16 and F-15, respectively. Both the F-15 and F-22 were designed primarily for air-to-air combat and feature a corresponding weapons load of air-to-air missiles. As discussed in a previous question about the F-22 weapons carriage capacity, the aircraft is equipped with four internal bays. Two small side bays are designed for the short-range AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missile while the two center bays were each sized around three medium-range AIM-120C AMRAAM missiles. The F-35, being a much smaller aircraft, has only two center bays. The location and size of these two bays, as well as six external wing pylons, can be seen in the following image. The diagram compares the weapons stations on the CTOL and largely identical short takeoff and landing (STOVL) variants of the JSF versus the carrier-based (CV) model that has a larger wing. Note that the bays of the F-35B STOVL variant were redesigned in late 2004 and are now 14 inches shorter, and perhaps reduced in width, compared to the F-35A CTOL model. This decision was made to reduce the weight of the F-35B in order to meet more important performance goals. Otherwise, the following diagram remains accurate.

General layout of weapons bays and external hardpoints on the JSF variants
General layout of weapons bays and external hardpoints on the JSF variantsCompared to the JSF, the F-22 Raptor is indeed larger in size and internal volume. Nevertheless, the F-22 suffers from one key limitation. Its center bays were designed around the AIM-120 AMRAAM that is only about 12 ft (3.65 m) in length and has a maximum fin span of about 1.5 ft (0.45 m). These dimensions are quite sufficient for the aircraft’s primary role as an air superiority fighter. However, the end of the Cold War forced the Air Force to change priorities and give the F-22 a stronger ground attack capability. Unfortunately, most air-to-ground weapons are significantly longer, wider, taller, and heavier than the AIM-120, making it difficult to integrate such weapons into the F-22 bays. The only weapon that has been integrated so far is the GBU-32 JDAM, a GPS-guided bomb that is about 10 ft (3.05 m) in length and is based on the 1,000 lb (455 kg) Mk-83 general purpose bomb.

Most air-to-surface weapons are in the 2,000-lb (910 kg) class, however, but these weapons are usually around 12.5 to 14 ft (3.80 to 4.25 m) long and too large to fit within the F-22. Bearing these limitations in mind, JSF designers purposefully sized the two internal bays around these larger 2,000-lb class weapons. The two weapons that have predominantly dictated the overall length and depth of the bays are the AGM-154 JSOW and the GBU-31 2,000 lb (910 kg) version of JDAM.

F-35 weapons bay
F-35 weapons bayEach bay contains two weapons stations, as shown above. Air-to-ground stores like JSOW and JDAM are carried on the outboard station. Air-to-air weapons can also be carried in this position but are carried primarily on the inboard station that is specifically dedicated to that purpose. One of the unique features of the design is that the air-to-air station swings out on a hinged rail as the inboard bay door opens.

The list of weapons that the JSF will carry when it enters service has not yet been finalized. However, it has been decided that all variants will be cleared to carry the same selection of weapons regardless of whether or not each user actually intends to arm its planes with that weapon. For example, the Navy CV variant will be cleared to carry the Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD) even though only the Air Force has that weapon in its inventory. Similarly, all US aircraft will be compatible with the ASRAAM air-to-air missile that only the United Kingdom plans to carry on its planes. The decision to clear all variants with the same weapon loads was made in order to simplify integration requirements, maintain commonality, and lower overall development costs. Note that the above statements are no longer entirely true since the bays of the F-35B STOVL version have been reduced in size as mentioned earlier. As a result, the F-35B is no longer compatible with JSOW and 2,000 lb JDAM weapons. The largest weapon this F-35 variant can carry internally is the GBU-32 1,000 lb version of JDAM. A list of the weapons that are currently planned for internal carriage on the F-35 is shown below.

F-35 internal weapons
F-35 internal weaponsNot included in this diagram are weapons in source selection as of this writing that are to be added to the internal carriage list. These weapons include the American GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, of which four can be carried on the air-to-ground station in each bay, and a new 500 lb laser guided bomb for the British (ultimately won by the Paveway IV). Another possible addition is a new variant of JDAM being considered by the US that will add a digital scene matching capability for improved accuracy.

The F-35 also has six external pylons, three under each wing. The inboard station is designed for up to 5,000 lb (2,265 kg) loads and will most likely be used to carry external fuel tanks. The pylon can carry 2000-lb class air-to-ground weapons as well. The midboard pylon is also primarily intended for air-to-ground weapons and can carry up to 2,500 lb (1,135 kg). The surface attack weapons compatible with these two pylons include many of the same ones carried internally as well as additional stores that are too large to fit in the bays. The outboard station on each wing, however, is a dedicated air-to-air station carrying up to 300 lb (135 kg) and designed specifically for short-range infrared guided missiles like AIM-9X Sidewinder. A list of weapons currently planned for external carriage is illustrated below. Note that training bombs have not been included in this list.

F-35 external weapons
F-35 external weaponsYou also ask about whether the aircraft has a gun, and the answer depends on what variant you ask about. The Air Force’s CTOL model is the only version carrying an internal gun. The GAU-12 25-mm cannon is mounted above the engine inlet on the left side of the plane, as shown in the diagram below.

Internal gun carried by the F-35 CTOL variant
Internal gun carried by the F-35 CTOL variantThe Navy and Marines, meanwhile, have both opted for a specialized external gun pod on their CV and STOVL variants. The same GAU-12 cannon is carried, but in a special tear-drop pod that can be mounted on a dedicated centerline pylon between the aft portion of the weapons bays. The pod is unique in that it employs stealth characteristics and should allow the aircraft to maintain low observability. Other advantages of the gun pod include room for a larger ammunition supply and the ability to remove the pod on missions where a gun is not necessary.

Optional external gun pod that can be carried by the F-35 CV and STOVL variants
Optional external gun pod that can be carried by the F-35 CV and STOVL variantsA number of sources indicate that the Mauser BK27 27-mm cannon will be carried on the F-35 instead of the GAU-12, but this information is inaccurate. The BK27 is commonly used on European fighters and was the leading candidate to be integrated aboard the JSF. Rights to manufacture the BK27 in the US had been sold to the Ordnance Division of Boeing, a division that is now part of Alliant Techsystems (ATK). The subcontract to develop a cannon for the F-35 became a competition between the BK27 offered by ATK and the GAU-12 manufactured by General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products (GDATP). The GAU-12 was eventually named the winner of the contract, but the decision is not without controversy as most observers feel the BK27 is the superior choice.

The information we gave gathered here is the latest available, but bear in mind that the Joint Strike Fighter design has not yet been finalized. The wish list of weapons that the various services originally asked to be put on the aircraft was enormous and would require tremendous time and cost to fulfill. As a result, the requirements are still under review, and the list has already been pared down significantly to focus on the most critically needed weapons.

Already eliminated from the list of internally carried stores are older unguided weapons like the Mk 82/83/84 general purpose bombs since it is very unlikely that the services would need to send the plane on a stealthy mission while carrying such archaic weapons. External stores that have been eliminated, or at least postponed, include the AGM-84 Harpoon and SLAM-ER, UK laser guided bombs, rocket pods, mines, and various data link, ECM and reconnaissance pods. Maverick and HARM may also be dropped because they do not currently comply with standard 1760 interface requirements.

Also note that production plans for the Joint Common Missile were cancelled in late 2004, and this weapon will no longer be carried by the F-35. Furthermore, the Navy has decided not to purchase JASSM, and it seems likely the Navy would want to integrate SLAM-ER onto the F-35 in its place.
– answer by Jeff Scott, 16 February 2004

Related Topics:

What fighter will serve the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps? What is the difference between the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter? … Which aircraft is for which service?

7 July 2011 Last updated at 11:28

Aircraft carriers: NAO fear over defence review change

Navy’s flagship the Ark Royal taken out of service (broadcast December 2010)

The National Audit Office has expressed deep concern about changes to the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers made in the 2010 defence review.

The NAO queried whether the changes represent value for money and pointed out there would be a decade-long gap without aircraft carrier capability.

Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said the report was “deeply worrying”.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox said changes put the programme “back on track”.

In its report, the NAO said changes to the carrier programme in the government’s strategic defence and security review (SDSR) had created “significant levels of operational, technical, cost and schedule uncertainty”, with the final total cost of the programme now set to exceed £10bn.

The ships – HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales – were saved from defence cuts under the coalition government because it said it would cost more to cancel the projects than proceed with them.

Ministers agreed to change the design of one, or both, of the aircraft carriers to make them compatible with the US Navy’s version of the Joint Strike Fighter.

Continue reading the main story


image of Caroline Wyatt Caroline Wyatt Defence correspondent, BBC News

The NAO’s worries are that the impact of the changes is not yet fully understood by the MoD.

Such a major project requires a huge amount of planning and technical preparation, and costs have already escalated significantly since the project began. The government’s decision to change the variant of the aircraft to go on board – from the short-take off and vertical landing version of the joint strike fighter to the carrier version that requires catapult and arrestor gear – has added new risks to the project, which range from financial to operational.

While the decision to buy the more capable version of the aircraft makes operational sense, as it can drop heavier weapons and has a greater range, the ‘cats and traps’ that will be needed for take-off and landing are a whole new system which hasn’t yet been trialled or used.

Regenerating the Royal Navy’s ability to launch aircraft from a carrier after a gap of 10 years will bring its own challenges, in ensuring crews are trained, ready and able to perform this intricate and demanding job.

The report also makes clear even under the previous government’s plans, the MoD had a “funding gap” when it originally ordered the carriers – the order went ahead on the basis the MoD would make other savings in order to be able to afford the carriers.

The NAO said the way the SDSR was conducted was “not the ideal situation in which to have to take strategic decisions”, and it has warned it is concerned the carrier programme may be vulnerable to further changes if the promised increases in defence spending don’t materialise in 2015.

HMS Prince of Wales will not enter service – it will be built but not kitted out, and then kept as a reserve vessel – while HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to go into service around 2020, with both said to cost some £6bn.

The NAO said the decision to buy a different version of the aircraft has delayed the entry into service date by two years, leaving the UK without a carrier able to launch aircraft for a decade and adding significant new risks to the project.

The Whitehall spending watchdog pointed out the decision to make only one carrier with aircraft operational means the UK will only have a carrier at sea for between 150 and 200 days per year – meaning it will rely heavily on allies to fill the gap.

Ms Hodge said the report also revealed that cancellation of the aircraft carriers had been feasible.

She said the report showed cancelling one carrier would save £200m in the long term and cancelling both would save £1.2bn over the same period.

Ms Hodge told the BBC: “It’s a very depressing report. This is a project that has been plagued with poor decision-making.

“What the government decided to do in the defence review was substantially change the design and buy a different plane.

“What the report says is that it’s something technically which has never been achieved elsewhere in the world and that we have no idea of the costs.

“What we are getting is a delay without a capability for a decade of a carrier on the seas.

“The costs haven’t been cut, they’ve been delayed by delaying the purchase of the plane, by mothballing one of the carriers.”

But BBC defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt said the MoD’s own list of options contained in the report showed that would have meant accepting the demise of the UK’s shipbuilding industry.

Dr Fox insisted that decisions made in the defence review had cut the overall costs by more than £3bn.

He said: “We inherited a complete mess from Labour, a carrier programme which they didn’t have the money for in the budget, where they had the wrong design on the ship, and the wrong planes to go on it.

“So we inherited a starting point that we would not have chosen, but having said that, we had to take the appropriate decisions to make it inter-operable with the United States and to give us 50 years of the best utility we could have in terms of power projection.”

Last November, the UK and France signed a defence treaty that agreed to share aircraft carrier resources by keeping at least one vessel at sea between the two countries at any one time.

Each will be able to use the other’s carrier in some form for training and possibly for operations.

The SDSR in October 2010 outlined cuts of £4.7bn over four years.

The new carriers will replace the 22,000-tonne Invincible class aircraft carriers, HMS Invincible, HMS Illustrious and HMS Ark Royal.

HMS Invincible, mothballed in 2005, was put up for sale on a government internet auction website, while Ark Royal – the navy’s flagship – was decommissioned in January and HMS Illustrious will be decommissioned in 2014.


Graphic: Future aircraft carrier
  • Displacement: 65,000 tonnes
  • Length: 280m (920ft)
  • Width (at flight-deck level): 70m (230ft)
  • Keel to masthead: 56m (184ft)
  • Nine decks (plus flight deck)
  • Speed: 25+ knots
  • Range: 8,000-10,000 miles
  • Aircraft: 36 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and four Airborne Early Warning aircraft, plus EH 101 Merlin helicopters
  • Crew: 1,450 (including air crew)
  • Weapons: Phalanx close-in weapon systems; 30mm and mini-guns

Source: Ministry of Defence

Dempsey Doubts That Procuring All Three JSF Variants Is Possible: Aviationintel Has An Answer For That!


I get a kick out of all the doubts being voiced concerning the affordability of this program, all the while nobody is putting forth alternatives or taking a hard stance against it. No wonder we are broke right?

Outside of the jobs program and export business case dogma that hangs on this program like cancer, the reality is that the two types that should be procured are the F-35C & B. The Navy needs a deep strike stealth fighter-bomber aircraft. Without it the Carrier Strike Group is not really a stand alone first day of war fighting force versus a modern foe with an advanced integrated air defense system (IADS) without blowing hundreds of millions of dollars on a limited inventory of standoff cruise and air launched missiles. On the other hand, the F-35B dictated the whole design concept of the F-35 and inflicted penalties on the airframe because of it’s very special STOVL needs. If we abandon the B model’s unique capabilities by canceling the type, the whole reason we invested in the JSF concept will be compromised. Further, the F-35B allows the US to basically double its carrier fleet (numerically) via the Navy’s Landing Helicopter Docks and forthcoming Landing Helicopter Assault carriers. With the F-35B, these smaller sized multi-role carriers will have almost the same capability (minus the C model’s longer range and 2,000LB class internal weapons carriage abilities) as their much larger nuclear cousins, all at a fraction of the cost. Although some say the F-35B’s stealthy STOVL philosophy was wrong to begin with, the ability to forward deploy such a powerful package of fighter, attack and ISR capabilities without large runways is pretty amazing.

The USAF’s A model is truly the consolation prize out of the three variants. Further, the F-35C model has more range so why not just sell this aircraft instead of the F-35A. It may be more expensive but much of that has to do with the low production numbers originally envisioned for the C model. If foreign partners want to buy the JSF they can purchase the C model. The same with the USAF, if they want eventually want the JSF they can buy the C model, or even a stripped down, lighter weight C model similar to the F/A-18L concept. This was done with the F-4 Phantom and there is no reason why it cannot be done with the F-35. Further, air arms around the world fly the Hornet, which is a navalized fighter, as if it were a land based fighter and there are no complaints. The only reason why there is a business case for the A model is cost, it’s internal cannon and the slight speed/maneuverability advantage offered by the smaller wing and lighter weight. It is well-known that the A model is a 9G plane, whereas the B and C are rated for 7.5Gs, but as discussed here before once the Helmet Mounted Sight and Distributive Aperture Systems is fully integrated the F-35 will have no need for super hard turning after the merge as they can cue AIM-9X Block II missiles 180′ degrees off boresight and guide them via data link to their hard turning targets.

In the end, I would love for someone in the Pentagon procurement world to read this and tell me why this is wrong or not possible. Everywhere seems to think that the F-35B is the variant on the chopping block, yet this would undermine the whole JSF design case and would in reality destroy the most promising variant of the whole lot. Further, at most the USAF should buy half the number of JSF’s planned today. They should take the savings from this reduced buy and purchase 100+ more raptors and plenty of fresh F-16s to fill the services increasingly vacant ramps.

More on my plan for cancelling (or at least a portion of) the F-35 program and the amazing alternatives to the JSF:


Posted on March 9, 2010
Posted by Fighter Country

F-35 Lightning II Fifth-Generation Fighter Cockpit

The F-35 Lightning II is a multinational, multi-service, single-pilot fighter designed with first-day-of-the-war, precision all-weather strike capability. This highly survivable fighter will be built in three variants – conventional takeoff and landing, short takeoff/ vertical landing, and carrier-based. Overall, the F-35 cockpit is a generation beyond preceding aircraft, as large liquid crystal touch-screen displays feature color-coded symbology, pictographs, and digital information. Also, the head-up display has been replaced by a helmet-mounted display as the primary flight reference. The complexity of missions, sensors used, and weapons employed make this fifth-generation cockpit necessary. Advanced technology makes it possible.

Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman/BAE Systems
Type: Fighter (Multirole)
Number Built: 1 (as of January 2007) 2,581 currently planned
First Flight: 24 October 2000 (X-35A); 16 December 2006 (F-35A)
In Service: Service entry expected in 2012
Notable: The F-35 program is the largest aerospace defense program in US history. Eight international partners comprise the program.
Photographer/Location: Tom Harvey/Lockheed Martin, Fort Worth, Texas

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter debate continues

Sep 01

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For the first time in the history of the Joint Strike Fighter program, a senior Pentagon appointee has raised the question of whether one of the three versions of the Lockheed Martin F-35 should be canceled to save money. The move comes as program leaders and Pentagon cost experts are trying to prepare for a long-delayed Defense Acquisition Board review of JSF, including a comprehensive effort to establish reliable predictions of acquisition and operating costs.

Navy Undersecretary Robert Work told the Navy and Marine Corps in July to provide lower-cost alternatives to the Navy’s current tactical aviation plan, and to examine the consequences of terminating either the F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (Stovl) version or the carrier-compatible F-35C. Work is seeking decisions in time for the 2013 budget submission.

He also directed service leaders to study whether the Navy and Marines could operate fewer than the 40 squadrons of JSFs currently planned (supported by 680 aircraft, divided equally between Bs and Cs) and to look at the possibility of accelerating development of unmanned alternative systems.

The instructions were included in a July 7 memo from Work to Navy acquisition chief Sean Stackley, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Assistant Marine Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford. Work told the leaders to form a team to develop three alternative tactical aviation force structures, respectively representing cost savings of $5 billion, $7.5 billion and $10 billion across the future-years defense plan. Ultimately, Work expects to determine “the best value alternative, factoring in both cost and capability.”

“This relook must consider every plan and program,” Work wrote. “Even cuts to long-planned buys of JSF must be on the table.” The team was also tasked to define “the key performance differences between the Block II F/A-18E/F with all planned upgrades, F-35B and F-35C.”

The quick-look analysis was due to be completed three weeks after the memo date; that is, by July 28. That was also the date on which Marine leadership organized a high-profile demonstration of the F-35B’s Stovl capability at the Navy’s Patuxent River, Md., flight test center.

Under Work’s leadership, the Marines and the Navy signed an agreement in March under which the Marines would operate 80 F-35Cs and 340 F-35Bs. Earlier, the Marines had argued that all 420 of their JSFs should be F-35Bs.

Work did not direct the team to assess the economic or operational impact of F-35 program changes on the Air Force or international partners. A reduction in Navy Department orders for both the F-35B and F-35C would increase unit costs. Canceling either version would eliminate some remaining development costs, mostly in flight test, and could lead to increased production of the surviving variant.

The largest international JSF partner, the U.K., changed its plans in October 2010, switching from the B to the C model. If the F-35C were to be canceled, the U.K. would withdraw from the program and “look for a European solution” to its requirement for a carrier fighter, a senior U.K. official said in Washington earlier this month. Italy is the only international partner that plans to operate the F-35B.

Lockheed Martin declined to comment on the memo, saying that it was an internal Navy document. The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) had no immediate comment.

As an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Work coauthored studies that supported the case for early development of a carrier-based unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) with greater range and better stealth characteristics than the F-35.

Currently, there is a debate in Washington about the characteristics of a future Navy UCAV system. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. is still proposing the 15,000-lb. weight class, moderately stealthy Avenger design, while Northrop Grumman confirmed earlier this month that it would be proposing a design similar to its larger and stealthier X-47B. The latter would potentially fill some of the deep-penetration missions that the F-35C is intended to perform.

Boeing, meanwhile, is continuing to work on an improved version of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which would reduce capability and performance gaps between it and the F-35C. The company plans to conduct wind-tunnel tests, late this year or early next, of the conformal tanks, which add 3,000 lb. of fuel, and a centerline weapons pod. General Electric is also offering an Enhanced Performance Engine variant of the Super Hornet’s F414, increasing thrust by as much as 25%.

The F-35B variant remains on probation, under a decree issued by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates in January. Gates said at the time that problems affecting the aircraft—including the need for a redesigned lift-fan door, driveshaft and clutch mechanisms—would have to be solved without increases in cost or weight. The U.K. government said, in switching from the B to the C variant, that the Stovl aircraft cost more than either the F-35A or F-35C, and U.K. government reports repeatedly described the F-35B’s “bring-back” performance—its ability to land vertically with fuel reserves and unused weapons—as marginal.

Last year, Work suggested in remarks to a Washington forum that forward basing and refueling on improvised airstrips—one of two pillars of the Marine case for the F-35B—would become much more hazardous in the presence of G-RAMM (guided rockets, artillery, mortars and missiles) threats.

The F-35B’s basing flexibility is also being called into question by unresolved issues about the effects of the fighter’s hot, high-velocity exhaust on ground and deck surfaces. Lockheed Martin and senior Marine leaders have downplayed these issues, stated that the environment under a landing F-35B is almost identical to that of an AV-8B Harrier, and claimed that early 2010 tests confirmed these characteristics.

Navy construction specifications continue to warn that the F-35B will impose temperatures as high as 1700F (several hundred degrees higher than a Harrier exhaust) on vertical-landing pads, with a transonic exhaust velocity. This is enough to cause standard concrete to “spall”—that is, shed surface flakes in a near-explosive manner—with a 50% chance of damage on the first landing.

Navy standards require F-35B landing pads to comprise 100 X 100-ft. slabs of special heat-resistant concrete, poured in one piece and continuously reinforced in two directions. At least one contract has been issued to these specifications since early 2010, when Lockheed Martin asserted that such measures were not necessary.

The Office of Naval Research still has an active program to develop a cooling system for the decks of LHD- and LHA-class ships that will carry F-35Bs, reflecting concerns that thermal expansion and contraction and consequent buckling will cause fatigue and premature failure.

The JPO has not responded to repeated inquiries about the discrepancies between Lockheed Martin’s statements and Navy specifications. Navy engineering organizations have referred all queries to the JPO.

The Defense Acquisition Board review is required in order to renew Milestone B approval of the JSF development and low-rate initial production program—granted in 2001 but rescinded automatically after last year’s critical breach of Nunn-McCurdy cost limits. In May, the review was expected in June, but it was abruptly delayed into the fall.

Any changes in the Navy’s plans will also factor into the board’s review. Among other factors being considered is a trend among international partners to delay deliveries, driven by last year’s slip in the completion of development testing, which will have an impact on production rates, ramp-up plans and costs.

JSF test aircraft were cleared to return to flight on Aug. 18, after a two-week grounding caused by a failure in the integrated power pack (IPP). Production aircraft, including two at Eglin AFB, Fla., and F-35s being prepared for delivery at Fort Worth, remain grounded and restricted from engine and IPP runs.



LM gets $13 million contract to modify F-35

Oct 11

JobelleNews , 1 Comment


Lockheed Martin has received a $13 million contract to incorporate a shipborne rolling vertical landing (SRVL) capability with the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B, with the work to be performed on behalf of the UK.

The US Navy announced details of the Joint Strike Fighter award on 6 October, just two weeks before the UK’s coalition government will disclose the details of its Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) process. This has assessed the nation’s long-term military requirements, including major equipment acquisitions such as the F-35 and two future aircraft carriers.

Developed by the UK, the SRVL technique will enable the F-35B to return to an aircraft carrier’s deck carrying more weapons or fuel than possible when making a vertical landing.

Qinetiq has supported previous development work, including the use of its VAAC Harrier demonstrator aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious.

A research simulator installed at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down site in Wiltshire has also been used to model the SRVL performance of the F-35B with the UK’s 65,000t Queen Elizabeth-class future aircraft carrier design.

The US Marine Corps has also shown interest in potentially using the SRVL technique with its own F-35B fleet.

– flightglobal

F-35B ‘Rephasing’ Possible According to Lockheed CEO

Sep 12

TynibelleAir Force, Marine Corps, News , , , , , , 3 Comments


Lockheed Martin continues to struggle with some parts reliability issues affecting the Harrier replacement so short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (Stovl) F-35 testing will force slippage in the 2012 in-service date for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin executive vice president for F-35 program integration, states that 251 Stovl flights are expected by the end of this year. And at the end of August, 122 were executed of 153 that should have been conducted by that time. “Where we are short is in some specific testing, mostly in Stovl vertical landing unique test points,” said Burbage.

During a teleconference this month with investors, Lockheed Martin CEO Robert Stevens to acknowledge a potential “re-phasing” for the Stovl flight-test plan. Acknowledging the restructuring to the program announced this year, Stevens adds that “the early corrective actions . . . are showing some beneficial outcomes [but] my sense is that it is not going to be enough.” The multinational Joint Strike Fighter will eventually comprise the lion’s share of the company’s profits.

The Marine Corps, however, stands by its plans to declare initial operational capability (IOC) with a Block II F-35 in 2012. The U.S. Air Force and Navy are expecting to declare their aircraft operational in 2016.

However, further delays in Stovl testing could have a dangerous ripple effect on the program. There is little margin to ensure that enough of the flight-testing envelope and software work will be ready to allow pilots to begin training in time for a 2012 IOC. Officials at the training center at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, say they expect their first Block II aircraft to arrive in spring 2012.

Much of this ongoing delay is a result of parts reliability problems for BF-01, the only Stovl test aircraft instrumented to conduct vertical landing trials. BF-01 is needed to clear the envelope for vertical landing, after which other Stovl aircraft can contribute to more flight testing. Five vertical landings were executed in August. Ten have been done since the first one in March. Also, last month 26 Stovl flights were conducted, the most in any month to date, Burbage says.

F-35B Thrust Vectoring Nozzle and Lift Fan

About 80% of the parts on the aircraft have completed qualification requirements. Of those, 100% passed for safety-of-flight; half were deemed suitable for the life of the aircraft. The remainder must be redesigned.

Burbage says the target-sortie-generation rate for each test aircraft is 13 flights per month. Last month, each aircraft averaged six.

While each parts supplier is responsible for designing parts to withstand the stresses of vertical flight for the life of the aircraft, it is the prime contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the aircraft as a whole meets its requirements. There are “some parts that just fail when you get them on the aircraft until you understand the root cause,” Burbage says, noting that experts are still characterizing the thermal and acoustic environment for these specific items during vertical landings.

Meanwhile, government officials are conducting a thorough independent technical baseline review for the entire program, which includes the conventional-takeoff-and-landing and carrier variant aircraft. This is due to the Pentagon’s Defense Acquisition Board in November.

Burbage says it is likely to include alternate paths for the program depending upon varying levels of funding. Government officials are also building the first cost estimate for the aircraft, including the operating price.

Of 394 flights planned for the three variants for the year, 233 had been flown by the end of August. Burbage says 2,361 test points were complete by that time; a total of 3,772 are expected by the end of the year.

As a result of the restructuring earlier this year, Lockheed Martin is required to stand up an additional facility for testing software to ensure this portion of the F-35 program stays on schedule. Burbage says the equipment for this laboratory will be delivered in mid 2011 and be ready to conduct testing by fourth-quarter 2011.



Israel set to build wings for some 800 F-35s

Aug 31

JobelleAir Force, News , , , , No Comments


Israel is in negotiation to build the wings for the United States’s new F-35 stealth fighter aircraft, an Israeli official said on Monday.

An Israeli official who declined to be named said state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries would build the wings for Lockheed Martin’s 3,200 F-35s costing about $96 million each.

“We are in advanced talks for the IAI to produce around 800 sets of wings,” he told Reuters.

Lockheed Martin declined to comment on the details of a possible deal involving the aircraft, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Earlier this month Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved in principle the purchase of 20 of the radar-evading fighters, in a deal worth $2.75 billion.

Israel would be the first foreign country to sign an agreement to buy the F-35 outside the eight international partners that have helped to develop the plane.

Israeli and U.S. officials with knowledge of the deal said Israel has an option to buy a further 55 aircraft.

“Israel possibly will end up building a significant portion of the F-35,” said one U.S. official familiar with the deal.

An Israeli official said reciprocal purchase deals worth $4 billion had been secured for Israeli companies for their participation in the plane’s manufacture and might be increased to $5 billion although it would be conditional on Israel exercising its option to buy the additional 55 planes.

The F-35 is designed to avoid detection by radar and could play a role in any Israeli effort to knock out what it regards as the threat to its existence posed by Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran denies Western and Israeli allegations that it is trying to produce atomic weapons.


from weasel1962 http://militarynuts.com/index.php?showtopic=8&st=1545

Calculating range circles for the F-35A based on the same data (w and w/o 2x external tanks) using google maps.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Over-hyping the Japan F-35 decision

Many news sources are over-hyping the Japan F-35 decision. Copy…paste…publish.While thisis one of the better examples, a lot of the unnamed Defence source quotes in the beginning of the piece have little merit.For instance, Japan fields a fighter aircraft different than anyone else.The Joint Strike Fighter partner nations were supposed to be good for over 700 F-35s. This has not happened because of huge technical delay and various governments not handing over money at an earlier date.That includes Australia.

The idea that Australia will hand over the money in 2012 for 14 F-35s is not a done deal. Defence Minister Smith is not happy with the program. He very well could recommend pointing that money at Nelson v2 for more Super Hornets.

Japan is both dumb and smart. Dumb in picking a virtual fighter aircraft with severe problems. Smart in being independent enough to never get involved in something like the Joint Strike Fighter Partner Nation Ponzi Scheme.

Because Japan is an FMS deal with strong home-political considerations–along with having some existing home aerospace industry–they will get more value out of the home workshare. Also, the potential Korean F-35 FMS deal will offer better home-workshare agreements. A Korean F-35 FMS deal could look something like how KF-16s were done.

Locally, the F-16s will be designated KF-16. Under the terms of the agreement, Lockheed Fort Worth will manufacture the first 12 aircraft, the next 36 will be delivered in kit form and assembled in South Korea, whereas the last 72 will be built in South Korea by Samsung Aerospace. This makes South Korea the 5th country to produce the F-16, after the US, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey. Major subcontractors are Daewoo and Korean Air. The expertise gained in the program will be put to use in the Korean Trainer Experiment program. South Korea took delivery of the first of these (LMTAS-built) aircraft on December 2nd, 1994.

That is a lot of missing “best value” for the JSF Partner Nations holding out their hands for work.

Note: Israel is different given they receive $3B in U.S. foreign aid credits every year.

Politicians in JSF Partner Nations should be wondering why their country is getting hosed.

Each JSF Partner Nation (depending on their level of participation) gets a fee paid back to them for each F-35 FMS sale. For example, if the fee for each Japanese F-35 is $6M, the Partner Nations would get (assuming 42 jets) $252M split up between them based on their participation level. For instance, the UK is a level 1 JSF Partner and would get a higher percentage of the kick-back than anyone else. While it is not chicken feed, it isn’t much either because there is so little work being done with JSF Partner Nation home workshare because of all the missing orders thus far.

The Japan deal is helpful to JSF Partner nation’s best value industry (and U.S. industry) in the way that a half-box of band-aids are helpful to a patient with multiple arterial bleeding wounds.

The math backing up the unnamed Defence official quoted in the article is really that bad.

Over-hyping Japan’s announcement isn’t going to change the fact that there are a lot of technical hurdles to get over with the F-35. That and the original business plan–the heart of JSF affordability; concurrency–is dead.

And, the F-35 will be obsolete vs. the threat over its alleged service lifetime.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Big money for Caribou replacement

Defence is now infamous for getting rid of existing capability and replacing it with something that has dumbed-down logistics/support, is much more expensive and in the end isn’t a real “replacement”.Consider this readabout the Caribou “replacement” project. Both the C-295 and C-27 are good aircraft however they are not a “replacement” for the Caribou. Certainly not with the money involved.The Caribou had a lot of potential to soldier on for those who were not lazy. Performing a refurb was not impossible. See this PDF on the topic.Today, the C-295 is cheaper to procure and operate than a C-27. The C-27 is probably more survivable.The replacement could cost around $1.5 billion.

We are seeing more and more signs that this Defence bureaucracy is not responsible with tax dollars. The Caribou “replacement” is just one more example.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Japan picks a flying question mark

Japan has selectedthe F-35 to replace their F-4 Phantoms.Fortunately for them it is an FMS deal with offsets and work-share and not the smoke and mirrors for the unlucky stiffs that are Joint Strike Fighter Partner nations.

The package includes a final assembly and checkout (FACO) facility in Japan as well as work there to build components – potentially including the wings or center fuselage – and subcomponents. Specific details on the value of this FACO facility were not disclosed.

Production “capacity” will be available because JSF Partner Nations have not put in orders of any significant number.

Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and IHT Corp will help with final assembly of the F-35 along with other components.

Lockheed officials declined to identify a potential contract value, but some analysts estimate it to be worth $8 billion. The contract for the first four jets, likely to be used for training, is expected in Japan’s fiscal 2012, beginning in April.

I guess Japan didn’t learn much from the F-2.

There is a lot of work to do to fix up significant problems with the F-35. It will be interesting to see how Japan deals with all of this.

And, it is unlikely the F-35 will be useful against emerging threats in the Pacific Rim over its alleged lifetime.

Maybe Japan can bring some credibility back into the F-35 program.

Others have tried, without success.

Why projects get behind

Who knows? Or, who knew?This May 2011 slide from a U.S. DOD/DOT&E brief makes for an interesting companion to the recent F-35 problems leaked to the public.

(click image to make larger)

Interesting: even in March 2011, the expectation was to start pilot training by the end of 2011. We all know how that turned out.

In a short time, the estimate of when full-rate production would start slipped 3 years.

Historically for the F-35 program, slips are now a form of routine.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hard path ahead

How do we avoid disaster with the F-35 and not let it be cancelled with a complete halt on work? It will be difficult and maybe even impossible given that it was poor and limited thinking that got us into the tac-air disaster in the first place.I suggest the following:Stop LRIP production of the F-35. The F-35A, B and C will become X-35A, X-35B and X-35C falling into an open-ended test program that will use these airframes to learn what works and what does not over the long term.Jobs will be lost. But not as many as the outcome of the pending program failure as we see it now.Lessons learned will spill over into USAF and Navy requirements for a new Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. There will be a CV variant and a CTOL variant. No STOVL.

The requirement should include the following:

2x1000lb internal carry of weapons. The F-22 main weapons bay will be used for this design. There will be a gun on both variants. Again, the F-22 configuration with lots (compared to the F-35) of ammo. There will be a HUD and JHMCS system. There will be a bubble canopy for better rear visibility. It will have two motors on it. The same ones used in the F-18 Super Hornet. It will have an internal self-defense jammer and towed decoy. Low observable quality will be robust and maintenance friendly over ultimate-stealth.

The end joint strike fighter could be a mixed vendor deal where Boeing and LM work together. Any foreign sales will be traditional FMS. It will not be an ultimate fighter but a good strike fighter that should work well with the F-22.

F-22 production will be started up. This could take a few years just to get the supply chain restarted. This means that refurbs on old fighter aircraft continue.


1. Upgrade path
2. Training
3. Test
4. Long term sustainability initiatives


– US and export for ABC’s (Australia, Britain, Canada).


– Export version of B, for non-ABC’s (Israel, Japan)


– Technology demonstrators (D-1,D-2, D-3 and so on) for a variety of F-22 initiatives: IRST, Cheek AESA, LO external storage, 2 aircrew, etc.


1. Follow on of B from what was learned from D model


– Follow-on of C from what was learned from D model

All of this will be very hard to do to pick up the pieces left from a raft of poor air power leadership since the end of the Cold War. However, it beats the alternative of faith-based insanity sponsored by the failed F-35 team.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Yes Canada, there is no $65M F-35

Like a time warp, silly arguments from Canada keep reappearing.Not so much analysis as copy/paste ignorance.Answered as follows. Just like last time.

Incompetence or cover-up? How did the F-35 pass CDR?

In 2007, the F-35C was the last aircraft variant to achieve the critical design review (CDR) milestone. As explained in a 2007 Lockheed Martin marketing video:

“2007 saw the completion of the critical design review for the F-35C. The completion of CDR is a sign that each F-35 variant is “mature and ready for production.”

Here are some other news items from 4 years ago.

F-35 Completes Design Review For Future Pilot Training

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II has successfully completed its Pilot Training System Critical Design Review (CDR), a significant development milestone that verifies the design maturity of the pilot training system and its subcomponents. The review, conducted by Lockheed Martin’s Simulation and Support in Orlando, included representatives from the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, the F-35 contractor team, members of the U.S. military services and the F-35 international partner services.

F-35 Navy Version Undergoes Successful Design Review, Readies For Production

The U.S. Navy’s F-35C Lightning II carrier variant has completed its Air System Critical Design Review (CDR), a significant development milestone that verifies the design maturity of the aircraft and its associated systems. The review was conducted June 18-22 at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, and involved officials from Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, the F-35 international-participant nations and the F-35 contractor team. Completion of the CDR is a prerequisite for the F-35C to move into Low Rate Initial Production.

“We’re pleased with the CDR results, which reinforce our confidence in the F-35C’s design,” said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program manager. “The review highlighted the program’s development progress and the 5th generation capabilities that the carrier variant will bring to the Navy.”

“Completion of this design review is a very significant milestone — the die is now fully cast for the unique, three-variant Joint Strike Fighter program envisioned when the planning began in the late 1990s,” said JSF Program Executive Officer Brig. Gen. C.R. Davis. “This is a momentous day never seen in another acquisition program in history. The entire team should be proud of the work that got us here today.”

F-35 Navy Version Undergoes Successful Design Review, Readies For Production

Terry Harrell, Lockheed Martin director of F-35 carrier variant development, added, “We met our objectives for detailed design and performance while removing more than 200 pounds from the aircraft in the past seven months — a major accomplishment. Getting the design ready for this important milestone required tremendous teamwork among NAVAIR, the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, Air Force Materiel Command’s Aeronautical Systems Center and the entire JSF contractor team.”

Hmmm. Then F-35C CDR needed to loose 200 pounds of weight and it was described as a “major accomplishment”. Today, weight margins on all variants are thin and some have the brass to say there is “growth room” in the design.

Given this not all-inclusive summary of F-35 problems, it is hard to believe that such formerly competent organisations such as NAVAIR and USAF AFMC aero systems and others did their homework with the F-35. Or they did and those that raised flags were ignored. Or, NAVAIR and USAF AFMC aero systems and others have been dumbed down over the years to be incompetent? Odd, when you consider it was Venlet in his old job in NAVAIR who stated O&S costs of the F-35 were going to be higher than legacy. This goes against all of the rabid F-35 marketing hype. So I will go with the theory that concerns of some of those people who raised flags in CDR were covered up.

(-click image to make larger)

The image above: One of the many things CDR missed; a serious engineering flaw of placement of the tail-hook on the jet. The F-35C recently failed all of its roll tests with the hook. This will require a complete redesign to find a suitable place on the airframe to locate the hook. Not trivial.

This is especially interesting to the U.S. Navy. The current F-35C design will not get aboard an aircraft carrier. Also bad; the UK MOD just shifted from one faulty version of the F-35 (the B STOVL) to this F-35C carrier variant. What qualified carrier aircraft will the UK put on their new and troubled aircraft carriers when they (if they) see service?

Japanese MoD Confirms Selection of F-35 Fighter Aircraft

00:49  SenjataMerah  No comments

It’s official now: the Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed on Tuesday that it intends to purchase F-35A Lightning II for its F-X future fighter aircraft programme. The selection of the US-built stealth aircraft had been anticipated by analysts and in different press reports that aired in November and earlier this month, mainly due to the close ties between Japan and the United States.

Japan’s decision adds a new country to the long list of partners and potential customers for this aircraft, which has been through tough times due to development setbacks, delays and political pressure. The programme has been joined by nine partner nations, comprising the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway. In addition, Israel selected the F-35A in October 2012 as the Israeli Air Force’s (IAF) next generation fighter aircraft.

Lockheed Martin can now anticipate the signing of a purchase contract worth an estimated $4.7 billion. In an official statement on the formal decision, the Japanese cabinet confirmed: “The government shall acquire 42 units of the F-35A after fiscal 2012 in order to replenish and to modernise the current fleet of fighters held by the Air Self-Defense Force.”

According to Lockheed Martin, the initial contract will be for four jets in Japan Fiscal Year 2012, which begins 1 April 2012. Japan’s Defence Minister Yasuo Ichikawa told AFP that he is confident that his country will receive the first fighters within the agreed schedule, stating: “We have received assurances that the delivery will be made on time.”[1]

In response to today’s announcement, Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO Bob Stevens said: “We are honoured by the confidence the Japanese government has placed in the F-35 and our industry team to deliver this 5th generation fighter to the Japan Air Self Defense Force. This announcement begins a new chapter in our long-standing partnership with Japanese industry and builds on the strong security cooperation between the U.S. and Japan.”[2]

Prevailing over the F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon, which had also been considered within F-X tender, the F-35A is planned to replace the ageing fleet of 117 F-4 Phantom II, which have been in service with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) since 1968. According to AFP, the F-35 bid by the US government and Lockheed Martin was the most expensive of the three offers under consideration, with an estimated price tag of $US113 million per aircraft.

Ichikawa emphasised that, despite the higher costs, the F-35 was selected due to the capabilities that it provides. “It is a fighter with capacity to respond to the changing security environment,” the Defence Minister explained.

The F-35A is the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) configuration of the single-seat and single-engine 5th generation fighter aircraft that is designed to offer advanced stealth capabilities, in order penetrate enemy air defences unseen. In addition to the F-35A, Lockheed Martin and its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems, develop a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant for the US Marine Corps, the Royal Air Force and Navy, and the Italian Navy (F-35B), as well as variant for carrier landings to be operated by the US Navy (F-35C). Thereby, the F-35 fighter aircraft is expected to become the backbone of the US air fleet, similar to or even to a larger extent than today’s role of the F/A-18 family of multi-role fighter aircraft.

However, due to demanding technical requirements and the programme’s complexity, it has become the most expensive weapons programme in the history of the U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) and is troubled by increasing costs and delays.

Japan’s decision comes amid an increasingly unstable security-political environment in the Far East. In addition to China’s continuous military build-up, as well as likely increase of tensions between the US and China over strategic influence in the western Pacific area, the announcement of the selection has been made one day after the news of the death of Kim Jong Il caused a great stir region. The uncertainties of the transition of power to the deceased North Korean leader’s son, Kim Jong Eun, raise fears over the possible flare-up of an armed conflict on the Korean peninsula.[3]

With the F-35 in its inventory, Japan will be able to remain an important part in the large puzzle that the United States is carefully putting together piece by piece to sustain and increase its strategic influence in the region. This includes the delivery of important military hardware to key partners such as the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and Australia, forming a ring of close US allies along the southern and eastern borders of China’s regional sphere of influence.

Posted in: ,
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Re: @Orko, SSIK when?

December 8 2011, 11:22 PM 
[linked image]
SU-30mk rocks and makes F-35 suck its dick.Su30 is superior to F-35 in every category except RCS and AESA radar. In a dogfight I pick the F-16 over the F-35 due to its higher kinematic energy and superior sustained turn rate. the F16 can turn inside the F-35 every time.The F35 isnt a true stealth fighter having a RCS 100 times greater than the F22 and 40 times greater than the T-50Try to compare 30 F-35 vs 30 EF-2000…


You can not compare F-35 with even F-16 block 60 with current situations.

And EF-2000 is 4.5th generation fighter.
TuAF is also going to have source codes by Eurofighter GmbH.

Without codes there will not be difference between Turkish Airlines and Turkish Air Forces.

http://www.sabah.com.tr/Dunya/2011/05/31/avrupadan-eurofighter-acilimi [linked image]


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a TORO lawn mower dealer in Japan
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