Prepare for all the Handwringing
|IOC is the beginning, not the end. People who think you can field a perfect airplane out the door don't know airplanes, people, or how weapon systems become operational.|
|IOC is the beginning, not the end. People who think you can field a perfect airplane out the door don't know airplanes, people, or how weapon systems become operational.|
The test objectives for high angle-of-attack testing are as follows:
1) Characterize the flyqualities [sic] at AoAs from 20° to the control law limit regime with operationally representative maneuvers.
2) Demonstrate the aircraft’s ability to recover from out of control flight and assess deep stall susceptibility
3) Evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of the automatic pitch rocker (APR)
4) Evaluate departure resistance at both positive and negative AoA with center of gravity (CG) positions up to the aft limit and with maximum lateral asymmetry.
5) Assess the handling qualities of the aircraft in the High AoA flight
With intentional departure testing [Objective #4] wrapped up, the team will soon move into departure resistance [Objective #4] and plan to remove the SRC now that these systems have been verified. In this phase of testing, the jet will test the CLAW limiters with much higher energy and rates than previous testing, fleshing out and correcting areas that may be departure prone. Lastly, select operational maneuvers [Objective #5], such as a slow down turn and a Split-S, will be used to gather handling qualities data on high AoA maneuvers. With the completion of this phase, the F-35 will be released for initial operational capability in the high AoA region.
While the flight test team will explore legacy high AoA maneuvers for handling qualities, it will be the Operational Test and Evaluation team that will truly develop high AoA maneuvers for the F-35. In the operational world, a pilot should rarely be taking the F-35 into the high angle-of-attack regime, but the ability to do so could make the difference between being the victor or the victim in air-to-air combat....
Matt Scales was serving in an Alabama Air National Guard unit when he learned one of his unit's former members — Donalson, who died in 1987 — had flown the lead plane in the D-Day invasion. In 2007 Scales tracked down the unit Donalson served in during the war and searched the unit's history. He figured it would end there because most military historians didn't bother to record tail numbers.There's lot's more of the story at the source.
But Scales and fellow military historian Ken Tilley hit the jackpot. Donalson's unit historian wrote down his D-Day plane's tail number: 42-92847. On a lark, Scales looked up the tail number in the FAA's database and got a hit. It was privately owned by a man in Arizona who was excited to learn his plane had flown on D-Day.
Scales, again, figured that was the end of it. He continued working as a boom operator in an air refueling wing and as a police officer in Alabama. Three years later he decided to check the database again and learned that by then the plane had been purchased by Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh, which repurposes old DC-3 and C-47 planes into modern aircraft.
Randy Myers, director of production and engineering at Basler, had seen "That's All, Brother" with its Vietnam gunship paint parked at the airport in Waupaca years ago and made an offer to the Arizona man. Myers wouldn't learn of the D-Day connection until much later.
Once Scales realized it was at Basler, he contacted museums and aviation preservation groups to see if any were interested in saving the aircraft that led the D-Day invasion. None were, and Scales figured his quest had finally come to a dead end.
But last year a blogger mentioned the combat history of the C-47 parked in the boneyard behind Basler. Smith, of the Commemorative Air Force, thought his group was the perfect fit to save it. It exchanged a C-47 in its collection for "That's All, Brother" and began fundraising for the restoration.
|What if the CUDA has a higher percentage of propellant weight than the AMRAAM? |
(updated verbiage for
The main characteristics of the new missile technology examined in our research include hit-to-kill technology in which the missile uses a kinetic warhead to attack the target, agility in that the missile’s guidance, propulsion, and control surfaces allow it to maneuver more flexibly towards a target, and a smaller size allowing each fighter to carry more missiles. These new weapons have the potential for dramatically changing the range of possible tactics and mission roles allowed. (p.1)And…
Tactics best suited to the new missile are ones that maintain BVR to take advantage of the increased engagement ranges and possibly combined tactics that allow the flexible maneuvering characteristics of the new missiles to engage enemy aircraft at angles that the enemy aircraft will be unable to counter. (p.102)There’s a lot of other ‘food for thought’ on many air combat topics in the paper. Connor was meticulous in documenting what he could of the methodology that he used including the limitations, ground-rules and assumptions. There’s also some excellent sources listed for further reading in the list of references.
I will bet dollars to donuts that IF the program chooses to respond to such hooey, that we will discover the first two BFM "tests" were in the middle of January, the first two flights were on two consecutive days, the missions were flown by two different pilots, and both of them had nothing but glowing reviews about the jet's performance. If I find eventually a public source to validate this 'guess' I will be happy to also share who I 'guessed' were the pilots, which flight they flew, and which plane(s?) was/were flown. And perhaps even quote the pilots.First, I'm certain that whatever the test pilot report being cited by Axe may bear some faint resemblance to Axe's representation of same. Axe's perversions of the facts, per his usual modus operandi come via his bizarro assertions-stated-as-fact and their complete disconnect from any reality as to the purpose and goals of the first A2A scenarios that were flown.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been flown in air-to-air combat maneuvers against F-16s for the first time and, based on the results of these and earlier flight-envelope evaluations, test pilots say the aircraft can be cleared for greater agility as a growth option.
Although the F-35 is designed primarily for attack rather than air combat, U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin test pilots say the availability of potential margin for additional maneuverability is a testament to the aircraft’s recently proven overall handling qualities and basic flying performance. “The door is open to provide a little more maneuverability,” says Lockheed Martin F-35 site lead test pilot David “Doc” Nelson.....
..... “When we did the first dogfight in January, they said, ‘you have no limits,’” says Nelson. “It was loads monitoring, so they could tell if we ever broke something. It was a confidence builder for the rest of the fleet because there is no real difference structurally between AF-2 and the rest of the airplanes.” AF-2 was the first F-35 to be flown to 9g+ and -3g, and to roll at design-load factor. The aircraft, which was also the first Joint Strike Fighter to be intentionally flown in significant airframe buffet at all angles of attack, was calibrated for inflight loads measurements prior to ferrying to Edwards in 2010.The expectation of the tests was to see how the airplane behaved when slung about in a A2A engagement using the current control laws within the current G-limit design, and they found they can open them up the laws for more. Let's ignore the fact we don't know AF-2's empty weight and that the program was delivering the SDD baseline weight aircraft about the time the engagement occurred.
The operational maneuver tests were conducted to see “how it would look like against an F-16 in the airspace,” says Col. Rod “Trash” Cregier, F-35 program director. “It was an EARLY look at any control laws that may need to be tweaked to enable it to fly better in future. You can definitely tweak it—that’s the option.”
Why do people think you have to take punishment like an A-10 to fly CAS?
|William Hartung describing the most inches of column he ever wrote without perverting |
reality to serve his ideological bent.
Don’t rush forward on the F-35
By William D. Hartung
To hear Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon tell it, the myriad problems with the F-35 combat aircraft are all behind us, and it is time to dramatically ramp up production of the plane. Nothing could be further from the truth. The plane continues to have basic problems with engine performance, software development, operating costs, maintenance, and reliability that suggest the Pentagon and the military services should proceed with caution.
Novices in mathematics, science, or engineering are forever demanding infallible, universal, mechanical methods for solving problems.....Or not.
If the F-35 isn’t ready for prime time, what’s the rush? The answer can be summed up in one word: politics. The decision to approve the Marines’ version of the plane for Initial Operating Capability (IOC) before the end of this year and the recent proposal to fund over 450 planes in the next several years are designed to make the F-35 program “too big to fail.” Once production reaches a certain tipping point, it will become even harder for members of Congress, independent experts, or taxpayers to slow down or exert control over the program.See how after setting up his presumptive preface (“If the F-35 isn’t ready for prime time..”) Hartung works from the assumption the reader has accepted his presumption and THEN builds a Strawman argument (or “begs the question”) :
What needs to be fixed before the F-35 is determined to be adequate to join the active force? Let’s start with the engine. On June 23 of last year an F-35’s engine caught on fire while the plane was taxiing on the runway at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Now, nearly a year later, a new report from the Air Force’s Accident Investigation Board attributed the fire to a catastrophic failure of the engine. So far, no long-term solution has been found to the problems identified by the accident investigation board. An April report by the Government Accountability Office has described the reliability of the engine as “very poor (less than half of what it should be).”Hartung often goes more than two paragraphs without making any concrete assertions before he starts introducing any specificity. I presume there was column-space limitation that curtailed his stem-winding this go-around. In any case, here he asserts, knowingly or unknowingly, two falsehoods.
Problems have also plagued the plane’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), which is needed to keep the F-35 up and running. As Mandy Smithberger of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight puts it, “ALIS is the core to making sure the F-35 functions.” A report last year by the Pentagon’s independent testing office noted that the system had been “fielded with deficiencies.” In April, F-35 maintainers told members of the House Armed Services committee that 80 percent of the problems identified by ALIS were “false positives.” In addition, as Smithberger has noted, the rush to deployment means that there will be no careful assessment of how changes in ALIS affect other aspects of the aircraft’s performance.The funniest thing about this paragraph is I’m pretty sure neither Hartung nor Smithberger really know what the true scope and function of ‘ALIS’ is, but wha-ta-hay, let’s dissect some more.
|Chairman Phil Strauss: Intellect held hostage by Ideology|
|Mandy Smithberger (2011) letting out a little more of the inner feral SJW than thse days, Nothing says 'serious defense thinker' than a little body-modification involving piercings in places prone to infection.|
There have also been serious problems with the helmet that is supposed to serve as an F-35 pilot’s eyes in the sky. Until the helmet is working to full capacity, the ability of an F-35 to drop bombs accurately or recognize enemy fighters will be impaired. And in April, the Pentagon’s office of independent testing noted that in the event of a failure of the helmet, a pilot would not be able to see what is happening below or behind the plane.In typical ‘Reform’ fashion, Hartung artfully ignores 1) the fact that the helmet’s capabilities are every bit under development as the rest of the plane, 2) the needed capabilities weren’t even known to be possible when the program began but were seen as desirous and worth the effort, and 3) that the capabilities are coming online in accordance with the current plan.
Declaring planes ready before they can actually meet basic performance standards is not a responsible approach to fielding an aircraft. Down the road, many of the problems that have yet to be resolved will require expensive retrofits of planes already in the force.I could really pick on Hartung here and challenge him on exactly what he means by ‘basic’ performance standards, but the real problem is he’s F.O.S. about what kind of capability EVER can be initially fielded, because EVEN IF A WEAPON WAS PERFECT from the first article rolling out the door, the operators are the ones that will mature the capability over time. His claim is essentially 'not doing the impossible is irresponsible'. No. What IS irresponsible, is his penchant for making these kind of asinine assertions. It is yet another typical ‘Reformer’ tactic: ignore the real expectations set by the acquisition system and complain that the possible isn’t ‘enough’.
The specific performance issues cited above don’t address a more fundamental problem with the F-35. The program is grounded in a basic conceptual flaw. Expecting variants of the same aircraft to serve as a fighter, a bomber, a close air support aircraft, and a plane that can land on Navy carriers and do vertical take off and landing for the Marines has resulted in design compromises that means it does none of these things as well as it should, given its immense cost.Why, oddly enough, the above is EXACTLY the kind of stupid-think one would expect from a ‘journalist’ who came out years ago as a peace-at-any-price social activist and who I note STILL has NO relevant experience or knowledge base upon which to make such a judgement. If one did have the relevant qualifications, one might ask oneself why it is then that among the most produced aircraft in the post Korean-War era, nearly all of them are multi-role fighters? Hartung is just being an over-the-top idiot on this point, but he’s not alone. This has become ‘Reformer’ Canon, so expect it to persist years after FOC.
Current plans call for an average expenditure of over $12 billion per year for procurement of the F-35 through 2038, a figure that will be unsustainable unless other proposed programs like a new tanker, a new bomber, and a new generation of more capable unmanned aerial vehicles are substantially scaled back.Gee. More Hartung-Brand pronouncements (“will be unsustainable unless X, Y, or Z”) that exclude the little point that the F-35 costs are coming down into current 4th Generation cost territory (as planned) and I think what Hartung fears most about the bulk buy is that if it happens then the costs will almost certainly continue to drop faster. I note here (again) that the only way the procurement of the F-35 goes through to 2038 is if they are successful AND the need for as many as planned continues. The most important thing for keeping total acquisition cost down is not the total number to be bought, but the rate at which they are bought: more ‘early’ equals more ‘cheaper’.
Unless further, realistic testing can demonstrate that the F-35 can adequately perform all of its proposed missions, it’s not worth the cost. The Pentagon should slow down and make sure it knows what it’s getting before it spends tens of billions of additional taxpayer dollars on the F-35. And Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) should subject the program to close scrutiny during his committee’s proposed strategic review of major acquisition programs.Ah, the final ‘pronouncement’. The DoD Customers (even the Navy) , US Partners, and FMS Customers know exactly what they are getting. Hartung just wants everyone to agree with his crap. This last paragraph does perhaps identify who his real target audience is though. I don’t think even McCain is that stupid, but maybe his constituents are?
Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy.No. Hartung’s a rabid anti-defense shill from within the Faux Reform Astroturf Noise Machine. He'd be a loyal babbler if he was still a journalist, and the CIP has it's toes in many things 'left', so Hartung could be considered a Stalwart operating inside a Fellow Traveler network.
What happened is not entirely surprising. Some personnel and testers have already raised concerns that the F-35 engine — known as the F135 — is prone to safety hazards.Hey 'Duuudes'? An engine shatting about 12 feet of metal spears through a fuel tank is going to cause a fire no matter effing what else you do.
As early as the 2007 fiscal year, engineers warned that a serious fire could break out if fuel leaked into the engine compartment, according to the latest annual report from the Pentagon’s top weapons tester.
By Fiscal Year 2013, tests had confirmed these fears. “Engine live fire tests in FY13 and prior live fire test data and analyses demonstrated vulnerability to engine fire, either caused by cascading effects or direct damage to engine fuel lines,” the report noted.
The first test series confirmed Polyalphaolefin (PAO) coolant and fueldraulic systems fire vulnerabilities. The relevant protective systems were removed from the aircraft in 2008 as part of a weight reduction effort. A Computation of vulnerable Area Tool analysis shows that the removal of these systems results in a 25 percent increase in aircraft vulnerability. The F-35 Program Office may consider reinstalling the PAO shutoff valve feature based on a more detailed cost‑benefit assessment. Fueldraulic system protection is not being reconsidered for the F-35 design.Later, the report also says:
The program’s most recent vulnerability assessment showed that the removal of fueldraulic fuses, the PAO shutoff valve,and the dry bay fire suppression, also removed in 2008, results in the F-35 not meeting the Operational Requirements Document (ORD) requirement to have a vulnerability posture better than analogous legacy aircraft.
In 2008, the JSF Executive Steering Board (JESB) directed the removal of PAO shutoff valves from the F-35 design to reduce the aircraft weight by 2 pounds. Given the damage observed in this test, the JESB directed the program to re-evaluate installing a PAO shutoff system through its engineering process based on a cost/benefit analysis and the design performance capabilities. The ballistic test results defined the significance of this vulnerability. However, the test also showed that a shutoff system needs to outperform other fielded systems. To be effective, it must trigger on smaller leak rates, down to 2 gpm versus the 6 gpm typical of other aircraft designs, without causing excessive false alarms. - The program is currently working to identify a low leak rate technical solution. The Program Office will consider operational feasibility and effectiveness of the design, along with cost, to decide if PAO shutoff valves will be reinstated as part of the production aircraft configuration.Translated, the above passage says 1) the Program Office is considering its options, 2) the big thing about 'fuses' that DOT&E is all hot about would require engineering and effort to improve the state of the art because 3) the thingy the DOT&E office wants doesn't exist and are 4) beyond current state-of-the-art engineering.
Kevin Knodell is a professional multimedia journalist and comic writer. He writes about veterans, military history, peacekeeping and refugees for War is Boring at Medium.com. He's the current writer of War is Boring's regular comic series with artist Blue Delliquanti, as well as the writer of the comic mini-history 'How The World Forgot Darfur' with artist Keith Badgely.Writer, Comic Writer, Combat Voyeur. Gets quoted by other media every now and then - got it.
From June 2014-April 2015 he was the coordinator of War Is Boring's field team in Northern Iraq. That meant supervising an international team of contributors covering the war with Islamic State, the mounting humanitarian crisis and the ongoing political struggle. The team's work has been cited by Fox News, The New Yorker, Huffington Post, France 24, and Yahoo News. He has been interviewed by Vice Germany and Rudaw English to provide insight on military tactics and new media conflict reporting.
|Very Van Gogh-ish|
|Well, he has access to a big map. Nothing says 'pro' like a big map... I guess.|
The vote was 278-149 in favor of the bill, which drew stiff opposition from Democrats because it uses a war-fighting account to raise defense spending next year. The measure provides $8.4 billion for 65 next-generation F-35 fighters, eight more than requested by the Pentagon, as well as $16.9 billion toward nine Navy ships.
In the Senate, the Appropriations Committee approved a $576 billion defense bill that also boosts spending on the F-35 program and adds funds to speed replacement of a Russian-made engine used to launch U.S. satellites.
The Senate bill would increase the number of F-35s made by Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth to 67 from the 57 requested in fiscal 2016. It would shift $730.3 million to buy six additional Marine models of the F-35 and add $97.6 million that, when combined with other previously approved but unspent funds, would buy four additional Air Force models, according to the bill report.
The Senate measure for the year that begins Oct. 1 would also add about $978 million for 12 F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet jets made by Boeing Co., rejecting the Pentagon’s plan to end Navy purchases of the plane.
Initially, the manufacturer expected that it would see the first cost savings during F-35 low-rate initial production (LRIP) lot 9, which Lockheed Martin and the DOD were negotiating at the time of [Lorraine] Martin’s presentation in mid-February. But it realized early benefits while producing LRIP 8 airframes, cutting about $260,000 from the cost of each of 43 fighters that it will begin delivering in 2016. “So that’s not chump change,” Martin declared. “I rolled that cost savings into the offer I made to the government when I negotiated the contract,” which the parties signed last November...
...At the time of the LRIP 8 contract award, Lockheed Martin said the average unit price of airframes for the three F-35 variants was 3.6 percent lower than the LRIP 7 price. The company reports that the LRIP 8 cost of an F-35A for the U.S. Air Force without its F135-PW-100 engine was $94.7 million. The price of an F-35A with its engine was $108 million, which was $4 million lower than Lot 7 prices, according to the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO).
Martin said the manufacturing improvements her company is implementing could knock another $780,000 from the price of LRIP 9 jets. Ultimately, the blueprint’s goal is to deliver an F-35 with an engine for $80 million in then-year dollars, accounting for inflation. Martin has generated news by saying the price could be even less. “If this works, and we have confidence that it will, [the government is] potentially willing to invest on the tail end $300 million. With these two sets of investments, that’s what gets us down to under an $80 million aircraft,” she said.
|Norway's First F-35 Leving 'Major Mate' for Final Assembly|
"With campus gun vote, Texas lawmakers trample the memory of 1966 shooting victims"And then offends again by closing her opinion 'piece' with:
"...the Texas Legislature has trampled the memory of the dead"In-between is nothing but the usual gun-control drivel.
|'Journalist', 'Professor', 'Prog'.|
“There’s already the usual suspects out there telling us that we don’t need this or it won’t work,” Major General Garrett Harencak, assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, said at an Air Force Association breakfast in January. The new bomber “will be affordable and it’s desperately needed,” he said....buried at random amid the otherwise unrelenting drivel oozing from old and new "usual suspects",
In summary, the F-35 program is showing steady progress in all areas – including development, flight test, production, maintenance, and stand-up of the global sustainment enterprise. The program is currently on the right track and will continue to deliver on the commitments that have been made to the F-35 Enterprise. As with any big, complex development program, there will be challenges and obstacles. However, we have the ability to overcome any current and future issues, and the superb capabilities of the F-35 are well within reach for all of us.Everything else in the media that surrounds the F-35/DOT&E, DoD SAR, GAO, blah ,blah, blah, reportage is about either rallying the mouth-breathers or herding the sheep.
|UAE's Block 60 in early livery |
over the Arizona Desert (original source)
|F-16C Baseline: Full Internal Fuel, 2 AMRAAMs on wingtip launchers and full 20mm load.|
|F-16 Block 50 Drag Count and Weight Differences. |
Note that at low drag counts the differences in weights have a greater impact on acceleration times than the differences in drag, In particular, the increases in acceleration time due to a DI below 30 are small (interpolation looks like ~5-6 secs at 32K lbs)
|F-16E Block 60 Configuration: Full Internal fuel load not includng CFTs, |
Empty CFTs, 4 AMRAAMs and full 20mm load
|Block 50 and lower pods on the left, Block 60 targeting system shown|
on the bottom right. Some of the extra weight of the Block 60
comes from carrying an internal infrared search and tracking system,
of which only the FLIR ball can be seen just ahead of the canopy
|F-16 Block 50 Engine (source)|
|F-16 Block 60 Engine (source)|
|Estimating the Effect of Block 60 Weight Drag ONLY based upon Block 50 data.|
|Effect of Low Drag Count at relevant weights|
|Estimating the Effect of Block 60 Weight Drag ONLY (A) and Block 60 Thrust to Weight ONLY (B), based upon Block 50 data.|
|Block 60 Transonic Acceleration Estimate: A Near-32K pound Block 60 with 4 AIM-120s accelerates like a Block 50 F-16 DI=50 at 28K Lbs.|
|I'm not even going to plot this one (DI=74? Yikes!)|
“The fuel levels and payloads at which maneuverability is calculated differs for each variant but generally focuses on a post-weapons release payload and fuel state at 50% of the required combat radius”…do we assume that the transonic acceleration KPP falls within both the “post-weapons release” AND “50% fuel” ‘generalities’, or just one? Or the other? Or neither?
Weight management of the F-35A is important for meeting air vehicle performance requirements and structural life expectations. These estimates are based on measured weights of components and subassemblies, calculated weights from approved design drawings released for build, and estimated weights of remaining components. These estimates are used to predict the weight of the first Lot 7 F-35A aircraft (AF-72), planned for delivery in August 2015, which will be the basis for evaluating contract specification compliance for aircraft weight.An empty weight that is 355 pounds lower than the modeled KPP weight implies a much larger weight in fuel that does not to be carried to achieve the F-35A’s combat radius (or ‘60%’ mission radius/endurance distance/time). JETA-1 fuel weighs 6.71 lbs per gallon. How many pounds of fuel can be left behind by not having to carry 355 pounds of dead weight over 1200+ nautical miles out-and-back? We don't know. the uncertainties are certainly adding up.
-- According to these reports, the program has reduced weight by 16 pounds in CY14 (from January to October estimate). The current estimate of 29,016 pounds is 355 pounds (1.2 percent) below the planned not-to-exceed weight of 29,371 pounds.
-- The program has demonstrated positive weight management of the F-35A over the past 38 months, showing a net loss of 123 pounds in the estimates from August 2011 to October 2014. The program will need to ensure the actual aircraft weight meets predictions, as well as continue rigorous management of the actual aircraft weight beyond the technical performance measurements of contract specification in CY15 through the balance of SDD to avoid performance degradation that would affect operational capability.