Other Post F-35 Lightning News and Discussion

BravoZulu

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
TAARB
Joined
Apr 2, 2017
Messages
37,044
Points
458
Australia
As the title states, this thread is for all F-35 news and discussion of the aircraft.

Robust and honest discussion is encouraged but be prepared to defend your position with facts please. Abuse and flaming for the point of flaming will not be tolerated
 
My personal opinion is that the whole project has been a mis-managed job creation scheme from the get-go. Any defence project (in this case an aircraft) that takes 20 years to come to fruition, and by way is not yet in full rate production, is a dog IMHO.

Training squadrons with 24+ aircraft in each one is almost unheard of. The promised low cost of the aircraft in a "high-low" mix of types in the USAF have not eventuated and above all else the ongoing burgeoning costs to customers of maintenance, parts and training is IMHO unsustainable.

After 20+ years the plane still hasn't met it's performance targets and still has many "category 1" faults and issues.
 
Over the past several years, U.S. Defense Department leaders have gone from citing technical problems as their biggest concern for the F-35 program to bemoaning the expense of buying and sustaining the aircraft.
But the reality may be worse. According to documents exclusively obtained by Defense News, the F-35 continues to be marred by flaws and glitches that, if left unfixed, could create risks to pilot safety and call into question the fighter jet’s ability to accomplish key parts of its mission:
F-35B and F-35C pilots, compelled to observe limitations on airspeed to avoid damage to the F-35’s airframe or stealth coating. Cockpit pressure spikes that cause “excruciating” ear and sinus pain. Issues with the helmet-mounted display and night vision camera that contribute to the difficulty of landing the F-35C on an aircraft carrier.
These are some of the problems with the jet that the documents describe as category 1 deficiencies — the designation given to major flaws that impact safety or mission effectiveness.
Thirteen of the most serious flaws are described in detail, including the circumstances associated with each issue, how it impacts F-35 operations and the Defense Department’s plans to ameliorate it.
All but a couple of these problems have escaped intense scrutiny by Congress and the media. A few others have been briefly alluded to in reports by government watchdog groups.
But the majority of these problems have not been publicly disclosed, exposing a lack of transparency about the limitations of the Defense Department’s most expensive and high-profile weapons system.
These problems impact far more operators than the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy customer base. Eleven countries — Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and the United Kingdom — have all selected the aircraft as their future fighter of choice, and nine partner nations have contributed funds to the development of the F-35.
Taken together, these documents provide evidence that the F-35 program is still grappling with serious technical problems, even as it finds itself in a key transitional moment.
And the clock is ticking. By the end of 2019, Defense Department leaders are set to make a critical decision on whether to shut the door on the F-35’s development stage and move forward with full-rate production. During this period, the yearly production rate will skyrocket from the 91 jets manufactured by Lockheed Martin in 2018 to upward of 160 by 2023.
Generally speaking, the department’s policy calls for all deficiencies to be closed before full-rate production starts. This is meant to cut down on expensive retrofits needed to bring existing planes to standard.
The F-35 Joint Program Office appears to be making fast progress, but not all problems will be solved before the full-rate production decision, said Vice Adm. Mat Winter, the Defense Department’s F-35 program executive.
“None of them, right now, are against any of the design, any of the hardware or any of the manufacturing of the aircraft, which is what the full-rate production decision is for,” he told Defense News in an interview. “There are no discrepancies that put at risk a decision of the department to approve us to go into full-rate production.”
Nine out of 13 problems will likely either be corrected or downgraded to category 2 status before the Pentagon determines whether to start full-rate production, and two will be adjudicated in future software builds, Winter said.
However, the F-35 program office has no intention of correcting two of the problems addressed in the documents, with the department opting to accept additional risk.
Much more:
https://www.defensenews.com/air/201...lock-to-fix-serious-unreported-f-35-problems/
 
The 13 deficiencies include:
  • The F-35’s logistics system currently has no way for foreign F-35 operators to keep their secret data from being sent to the United States.
  • The spare parts inventory shown by the F-35’s logistics system does not always reflect reality, causing occasional mission cancellations.
  • Cabin pressure spikes in the cockpit of the F-35 have been known to cause barotrauma, the word given to extreme ear and sinus pain.
  • In very cold conditions — defined as at or near minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit — the F-35 will erroneously report that one of its batteries have failed, sometimes prompting missions to be aborted.
  • Supersonic flight in excess of Mach 1.2 can cause structural damage and blistering to the stealth coating of the F-35B and F-35C.
  • After doing certain maneuvers, F-35B and F-35C pilots are not always able to completely control the aircraft’s pitch, roll and yaw.
  • If the F-35A and F-35B blows a tire upon landing, the impact could also take out both hydraulic lines and pose a loss-of-aircraft risk.
  • A “green glow” sometimes appears on the helmet-mounted display, washing out the imagery in the helmet and making it difficult to land the F-35C on an aircraft carrier.
  • On nights with little starlight, the night vision camera sometimes displays green striations that make it difficult for all variants to see the horizon or to land on ships.
  • The sea search mode of the F-35’s radar only illuminates a small slice of the sea’s surface.
  • When the F-35B vertically lands on very hot days, older engines may be unable to produce the required thrust to keep the jet airborne, resulting in a hard landing.
The Pentagon has identified four additional category 1 deficiencies since beginning operational tests in December 2018, mostly centered around weapons interfaces
 
Lockheed's F-35 Parts Often Aren't Ready to Use, Watchdog Finds
Lockheed Martin Corp. has failed to supply ready-to-install spare parts for its F-35 fighter -- from wheels and tire assemblies to seats -- and may have been overpaid as much as $10.6 million in bonuses, according to the Defense Department’s inspector general.

“We determined that the DoD did not receive ready-to-issue F‑35 spare parts in accordance with contract requirements and paid performance incentive fees on the sustainment contracts based on inflated and unverified” hours that Air Force and Marine Corps planes would be ready to fly, the Pentagon’s internal watchdog said in a report released Monday.

It happened because the Pentagon’s F-35 program office “did not conduct adequate oversight of contractor performance,” according to the report. It found the office hasn’t resolved “contractor non‑performance related to the delivery of non‑ready-to-issue spare parts since 2015.”

“F‑35 aircraft are already proving to be more expensive to sustain than originally planned and, as the DoD adds more aircraft to the F‑35 fleet, the strain on the aircraft logistics system will increase,” the inspector general said. Problems with parts not ready to be installed “may continue to multiply and affect already increasing sustainment costs and F‑35 mission capable rates,” it said.

The long-term cost of operating and supporting the fleet of fighters over more than six decades has increased to $1.196 trillion, according to a Pentagon’s latest cost assessment of major projects.

The parts were considered inadequate for installation not because of safety or manufacturing flaws but because they were delivered without the required inclusion of electronic data needed by maintenance crews, such as a part’s history and its remaining useful life. Parts aren’t supposed to be installed without the data.

The lack of information “creates a life and safety concern for aircrews” if Pentagon personnel “make mistakes on the number of hours the spare part was flown.” it said.

Investigators found instances at two F‑35 sites where pilots had flown aircraft with non‑compliant spare parts, such as wheel, seat and window assemblies, as early as August 2017. That “unintentionally inflated aircraft availability hours,” which is one measure for incentive fees to Lockheed.

In writing policy and funding legislation, three of the four congressional defense committees have added F-35 jets beyond the 78 the Pentagon requested for fiscal 2020. Such increases have only exacerbated pressure on the supply chain and added to the F-35’s chronic failure to meet goals on its availability for missions.

The lack of available spare parts “could result in the F‑35 fleet being unable to perform required operational and training missions,” the inspector general said.

The lack of compliant parts is widespread. Of 74 spare parts delivered to Hill Air Force Base in Utah from Sept. 17 through Sept. 30 of last year, 59 of them, or 80%, weren’t ready to install. Of 263 parts delivered to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona in June of last year, 213, or 81%, didn’t meet requirements.

“Despite the Joint Program Office being aware of this problem, it did not resolve the issue or require the services to track the number” of non-compliant spare parts received, the report found.
1000x-1.jpg

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...ail&utm_term=0_694f73a8dc-2e9c1bc12b-85340453
 
Australia’s F-35s: lessons from a problematic purchase
In a startling statement reported this month, two recent Air Force chiefs assert Australia has made some grave force structure errors. It seems the RAAF needs a new bomber, as the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter now entering service is inadequate for future strike operations. The chiefs’ intervention raises questions about how this could have happened and, given growing international tensions, how such expensive strategic missteps can be avoided.
Australia joined the US-led F-35 program in a rush in 2002. There was no tender process or formal evaluation. Nor could there be. The aircraft was still brochure-ware, with delivery schedule and cost unknown, albeit thought to be Australia’s most expensive defence equipment purchase.
The sudden decision surprised many, as the Howard Government’s 2000 Defence White Paper had set out a comprehensive decision-making process that investigated alternative force structure options, including single-role fighters, multi-role aircraft, long-range missiles, and unmanned aircraft. The rationale behind the unexpected rush to purchase F-35s was explained publicly by the then Air Force chief. Unfortunately, soon after the decision, the F-35 began suffering technical problems, cost growth, and long delays.
The first two F-35s finally arrived in Australia in late 2018, with the last nine planned for mid-2023. These nine are expected to be the Lot 15 Block 4 version, the fully developed standard broadly envisaged back in 2002. The rest, comprising six different interim-build standards, will then be progressively modernised to this definitive configuration.
The Lot 15 aircraft has significant hardware and software changes so the complete maintenance and support system, simulators and training centres will also need modernising. This will take time and additional money, but there is no choice. If not modernised, the earlier F-35s – almost all the RAAF’s brand-new fleet – will become hard to maintain or software update, and gradually operationally deficient.
The nine Lot 15 aircraft arrival will allow the RAAF to declare Final Operational Capability and start wrapping the acquisition project up. Over 20 years, the project has slipped 10 years.
This delay meant an interim aircraft, the Super Hornet, was necessary. Funding this meant the overall air-combat capability project had the largest cost overrun of any Australian defence acquisition in history, in absolute terms.
Yet making matters worse, the threat environment evolved.
In 2017, USAF reviewed its air combat programs and determined that, all things considered, the F-35 would be unable to penetrate defended airspace past 2030. The logic underpinning this formal report was later explained publicly by its lead author. The recent pronouncements by the retired RAAF chiefs are then unsurprising. They consider that the RAAF’s force structure is now passé, being unable to defend “our lines of communication or prevent the lodgment of a hostile power in the Indo-Pacific region.”
It suddenly seems the Air Force needs major recapitalisation, just as its force structure is being renewed at considerable cost. The retired chiefs are now calling for a “reset”, with significant new spending and possibly acquiring advanced bombers, cruise missiles, and unmanned aircraft – a laundry list reminiscent of the Howard government’s White Paper.
Before rushing in there are several aspects worth considering.
Firstly, the F-35 acquisition decision was made independently of considering the overall force structure. Airbase defence illustrates this shortcoming. RAAF focused on acquiring F-35s, rather than on also building a capability to defend the airbases they might operate from. China’s long-range missile attack capabilities now mean that in time of crisis, the RAAF might be ill-advised to deploy F-35s to Southeast Asian airbases. In time, this vulnerability might also apply to Australia’s northern bases. Any “reset” needs to be made cognisant of all pertinent aspects, even if they are difficult ones.
Secondly, the chiefs consider that “we need to urgently review where we stand”. The F-35 decision was perceived by some as urgent, a perception less obvious in retrospect. There is apparently a review underway that will report on Air Force structures and composition early in 2020. This is a process that needs considerable thought and deliberation. Rushed decision-making today can produce poor results and long delays downstream. A repeat of the F-35 acquisition should be avoided. This review might be headed that way.
Thirdly, the chiefs blame the Air Force’s parlous state of affairs on changing strategic circumstances that no one could have foreseen. Force structures, though, are acquired for the longer term. The chief’s critique implies the current Defence White Paper process has serious fundamental shortcomings in terms of comprehending the possibility of strategic change.
Before undertaking an “urgent” review or rushing to buy a new jet, it is essential to address the methodology used when designing the future force. This all sounds pretty dry, but its absence can be seen in the chiefs’ conclusion that Air Force’s brand-new fighter is inadequate. This is potentially operationally disastrous, strategically unacceptable, and a waste of taxpayers’ money.
There are methodologies well-suited to thinking about future uncertainty. The Defence Minister’s very first review needs to determine which to use. Until then, all future reviews or White Papers will be of doubtful value. The chiefs’ have done the nation a service in highlighting the shortcomings in contemporary Australian strategic thinking – even if they were involved in making it so. Their critique needs acting on.
201907174raaf8144078_043.jpg

https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/australia-s-f-35s-lessons-from-problematic-purchase
 
104079247_169299881269183_2029140273643670305_n.jpg

Block 4 capabilities delayed, cost increases by $1.5 billion

In its May 2019 Block 4 report to Congress, DOD reported that the total cost to develop 66 Block 4 capabilities—both hardware and software—would be $10.6 billion for activities planned from fiscal years 2018 to 2024.

The report also included the F-35 program office estimate of an additional $6.4 billion in fiscal year 2018 through 2024 funding to retrofit aircraft from the baseline F-35 configuration to a full Block 4 configuration.

However, GAO “found that reported Block 4 costs did not include all Block 4 costs…and did not include Block 4 costs the program incurred prior to 2018, or that it will incur after 2024,” as the F-35 program office has chosen to exclude the past and future costs in the Block 4 cost estimate it reported to Congress. This decision understates the true cost of Block 4.

The updated cost estimate reflects that the program office will be fielding Block 4 capabilities into fiscal year 2026. This new schedule adds 2 years analysis of DOD’s updated cost estimate indicates the total cost of Block 4 development grew by $1.5 billion to a total of $12.1 billion for activities in fiscal years 2018 through 2026.

Furthermore, in addition to the Block 4 development costs, the program also estimates it will need another $2.9 billion to develop other capabilities, such as upgrades to ALIS.

“Ultimately, without a complete understanding of Block 4 costs, the program could face additional cost growth, which will be hard to track without a complete cost baseline,” GAO says. “The lack of a complete cost baseline hinders insight and oversight into the program’s costs, plans, and progress to date and going forward.”

Block 4 capabilities delivered late

Lockheed Martin only delivered one Block 4 capability (the auto ground-collision avoidance system) in 2019, instead of eight as planned. According to program officials, the development of the other capabilities is taking longer than planned and, as a result, the program pushed their delivery schedule into 2020.
According to the Defense Contract Management Agency:

• Between August 2017 and July 2019, the number of parts delivered late increased from under 2,000 to more than 10,000.

• Between July 2018 and July 2019, the parts shortages per month increased from 875 to over 8,000. According to contractor representatives, roughly 60 percent of parts shortages are attributable to 20 suppliers.
https://www.defense-aerospace.com/a...-years-as-cost-increases-by-$1.5-bn:-gao.html

Development and delivery of the capabilities within the Block 4 effort are complex, and the program does not consider development complete until the products for all elements of the F-35 air system are ready.

The program is also discovering issues during Block 4 testing, causing the testing to take longer than anticipated. According to a DOT&E official, Block 4 software changes caused issues with functionality of F-35 baseline aircraft capabilities that worked before the program installed new Block 4 software onto the aircraft.

The program discovered issues with each new software version during flight testing and has been working to fix these issues in subsequent software updates. Testing and DOD officials stated that the contractor had not performed adequate testing of the software before delivering it to the test fleet as the reason for these issues. Contractor representatives acknowledged these issues and stated that they will conduct additional lab testing for future software releases to avoid such problems going forward.

91% of engines delivered late

In 2019, 91 percent of engines delivered were late. In addition, the average number of quality notifications per engine—production defects indicating a quality issue—has increased by 16 percent in 2019, to 1,090 per delivered engine.

Late parts delivery increase ten-fold

According to program officials, some suppliers for the F-35 struggled to meet increased production demands in 2019 and, as a result, the program witnessed increased rates of late deliveries or parts shortages. In particular, the number of parts delivered late to the airframe contractor, as well as parts shortages, have grown steadily over the past 2 years.
 
Don't know if this belongs here but it seems that there is an open discussion regarding the delivery of F35's to the UAE and that it was part of the deal with them recognizing Israel.

Apparently Israel is' nt a fan of the idea and is challenging it is part of the deal.

 
104079247_169299881269183_2029140273643670305_n.jpg


According to the Defense Contract Management Agency:

• Between August 2017 and July 2019, the number of parts delivered late increased from under 2,000 to more than 10,000.

• Between July 2018 and July 2019, the parts shortages per month increased from 875 to over 8,000. According to contractor representatives, roughly 60 percent of parts shortages are attributable to 20 suppliers.
https://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/feature/5/211183/f_35-block-4-upgrade-slides-two-years-as-cost-increases-by-$1.5-bn:-gao.html
At some stage, supply chain shortages of critical consumables for frontline military systems becomes a legit strategic vulnerability.

In 2011, Toyota got hurt badly with the Fukushima earthquake because their semiconductor supplier went offline.

In the wake of the incident, Toyota learned the lesson and ensured their semicon supplier maintained 12 month supply.

That covered Toyota thru 2020/2021, but now Toyota is struggling like every other auto manufacturer: https://www.reuters.com/business/au...get-shortfall-chip-shortage-drags-2022-01-18/

Adversary supply chain analysis is suddenly becoming a thing.

You go to war with what you‘ve got, not what you have on back order.
 
The US Navy has revealed the inability of fifth-generation F-35 fighters to withstand sea salt. Rust stains have become visible on the planes, there is corrosion of the outer skin.

To view this content we will need your consent to set third party cookies.
For more detailed information, see our cookies page.
 
The US Navy has revealed the inability of fifth-generation F-35 fighters to withstand sea salt. Rust stains have become visible on the planes, there is corrosion of the outer skin.

To view this content we will need your consent to set third party cookies.
For more detailed information, see our cookies page.
As you may be aware, the skin is not made of steel or ferrous material.
 
The US Navy has revealed the inability of fifth-generation F-35 fighters to withstand sea salt. Rust stains have become visible on the planes, there is corrosion of the outer skin.

To view this content we will need your consent to set third party cookies.
For more detailed information, see our cookies page.
Absolute rubbish. This is built up dirt, grime. oils and greases from people crawling all over these aircraft. It's common in all military aircraft that have regular maintenance. Something Russian aircraft may not get so much of ;)
 

So you can force a referendum on buying some F35's

But stay really quiet on where all Hitler's money is and how much stolen Jewish cash you have sequestered over the years

Worlds mad :rolleyes:

Swiss activists have triggered a national referendum to stop the country’s purchase of 36 F-35A's from the USA
a challenge that complicates plans for the modernization of Swiss's military and risks a spat with USA.
 

So you can force a referendum on buying some F35's

But stay really quiet on where all Hitler's money is and how much stolen Jewish cash you have sequestered over the years

Worlds mad :rolleyes:

Swiss activists have triggered a national referendum to stop the country’s purchase of 36 F-35A's from the USA
a challenge that complicates plans for the modernization of Swiss's military and risks a spat with USA.
Meh, just buy new Gripens and satiate the Americans with a decent missile defence system.
F-35 a bit much for Swiss imho. Plus if this is their attitude it will probably be a politically charged item once it's in service, bit of a poison chalice.
 
Swiss activists have triggered a national referendum to stop the country’s purchase of 36 F-35A's from the USA
a challenge that complicates plans for the modernization of Swiss's military and risks a spat with USA.


Sad.
 

Similar threads

Back
Top