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May 16 12 8:21 AM
May 16 12 9:32 AM
'tsz52' agree there is a lot of old conjectural stuff about SRVL out there and we DO need the new stuff. Because it seems to be vital to CVF (even if in practice it is not) the public NEEDS TO KNOW!
May 16 12 12:33 PM
May 17 12 1:45 PM
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta strongly endorsed US Marine
Corps aviation and voiced his continued support for the stealthy
Lockheed Martin F-35B jump-jet and Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor
aircraft on 17 May.
"Marine air is what we need for the future," Panetta told a crowd of
marines during a commemoration ceremony marking a century of USMC
aviation. He praised the USMC's air arm for its flexibility and
"There is no force in the world that can match the Marine Corps'
ability to conduct agile and flexible expeditionary operations," he
Moreover, the USMC can conduct those operations on short notice and with overwhelming force.
It is because of those reasons that the USMC needs the short take-off
vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B version of the tri-service Joint Strike
Fighter, Panetta says. He notes that earlier in the year he cleared the
variant from "probation" because the once-troubled F-35B is "meeting
"The Marines need a fifth-generation fighter for the future, and they will have it," Panetta declares.
The secretary also praised the MV-22 tilt-rotor. The tilt-rotor affords the USMC agility and flexibility, he says.
May 18 12 6:25 PM
The F-35 Lightning II is making good progress through flight
testing this year, a top Lockheed Martin official says. Most of the
biggest challenges faced by the programme should be well on their way to
being fixed by the later part of the year.
One major issue that has recently popped up on the US Navy's F-35C
variant is that the aircraft's tail-hook has had to be redesigned. That
is because the existing design has failed to catch an arresting cable
during trials. Lockheed is working on a new improved hook design that
should fix the problem.
"We have modified the hook pointwith a lower center of gravity," says
Steve O'Bryan, Lockheed's vice president for F-35 programme integration
and business development. Additionally, "we've redesigned the hold-down
The new design is scheduled for its preliminary design review in "the
summer." That will be followed by a critical design review in the
After the new hook design undergoes shore-based qualification trails,
the F-35C will undergo sea trials on a carrier in late 2013 or early
Lockheed is also set to test fixes to the jet's troublesome
helmet-mounted display (HMD) this summer, O'Bryan says. Lockheed has
reached an agreement with the US government on the HMD requirements,
which will help the company to fix imagery lag on the helmet by tweaking
the system's software, he says.
The company is also adding micro inertial measurement units (IMU) to
the helmet and pilot's seat to dampen out jittery images. "We're going
to fly those micro-IMUs this summer," O'Bryan says.
Lockheed hopes that the new ISIE-11 camera, which replaces the
existing ISIE-10 cameras, will resolve jet's night vision acuity
problems. The new system will undergo testing at MIT's Lincoln Labs
later this summer. The system will now consist of two ISIE-11 cameras,
one of which will be mounted in the helmet and another on the canopy
bow, and imagery pumped in from the F-35's six distributed aperture
system (DAS) infrared cameras.
"We're optimistic, we've got a good plan," O'Bryan says.
Meanwhile, the pilots have started to test the imagery from the
distributed aperture system. Initial results look to be very promising,
O'Bryan says. But there will need to be tweaks as flight tests reveal
Other avionics tests are proceeding well. The F-35 has already
started testing the Link-16 data-link and will soon start to test the
variable message format link which is needed for the close air support
mission. There are also ongoing tests with the radar, electronic
warfare, and infrared targeting system, which are needed for the release
of the Block 2A training software.
On the flight sciences side, the US Marine Corps short take-off
vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B test programme is further along than that
of the F-35C. The previously troubled B-model is now running 20% ahead
of this year's planned test schedule, O'Bryan says.
The F-35B has flown at altitudes over 49,000ft and has hits speeds of
Mach 1.4. That's just shy of the F-35's required 50, 000 ft ceiling and
Mach 1.6 design speed limit, he says. The B-model has also flown at its
maximum airspeed of 630 knots and has achieved its maximum 7G limit.
"It's about over 50% complete with its clean-wing full-envelop test points," O'Byan says.
The F-35C is also about 20% ahead of this year's flight test plan,
O'Bryan says. Like the F-35B, the C-model has flown out to 630 knots,
but the naval variant is required to hit 700 knots. The C-model has also
flown at 45, 000 ft and at speeds of Mach 1.4. It has also hit its
maximum 7.5G limit.
That means the USN version has completed about 40% of its clean configuration flight envelope test points, O'Bryan says.
Out at Edwards AFB, California, F-35A will have completed 45% of the
totality of its flight test points by the end of the year. By the fourth
quarter, the F-35A should have competed its first full lifetime of
durability testing, O'Bryan says. There have thus far been no new issues
that have arisen as a result of the tests.
'That, I'm happy to say, is going well," he says.
The all versions of the jet have started flying with external stores.
Later this year, the aircraft will enter into high angle of attack
testing up to 50angle of attack, O'Bryan says. The programme will also
start wet runway tests, engine air starts, and weapons releases.
May 23 12 2:06 AM
The US Marine Corps' F-35B initial training fleet at Eglin AFB,
Florida, has started local area flights, the US Air Force announced 22
"Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501) has had an
exciting year with the arrival of our first three aircraft in January,
the official roll out ceremony in February and now generating sorties
along with other military service and contract partners here," says USMC
Lt Col David Berke, commander of VMFAT-501.
USMC Maj Joseph Bachmann, one of two test pilots assigned to the base, flew the first F-35B local area flight.
The Marines will initially fly the local area operations flying the
F-35B in conventional mode before moving on to short takeoffs and
vertical landings (STOVL) mode operations.
If all goes smoothly, the 33rd Fighter Wing, which hosts VMFAT-501
and USAF's 58th Fighter Squadron, should start the F-35's operational
utility evaluation later this year. A successful evaluation would enable
the USAF and USMC to start the F-35 training syllabus.
May 26 12 10:44 PM
May 27 12 2:56 AM
May 29 12 11:47 AM
The US Navy is upgrading its fleet of Boeing F/A-18E/F fighters
with new capabilities, but analysts question the Super Hornet's utility
against emerging anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) threats.
the F/A-18 family is a good idea, and it could extend their service
lives," says analyst Mark Gunzinger of the Center for Strategic and
Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). "That being said, F/A-18-based platforms
are short-range, lack unrefueled persistence, and are best suited for
operations in relatively uncontested airspace."
in the future, uncontested airspace is unlikely to remain the norm as
potential adversaries develop means to deny US forces access to a
region, US Department of Defense (DoD) officials and analysts say. Many
future conflict zones are likely to be heavily defended by new
surface-to-air systems, advanced aircraft and other weapons such as
anti-ship cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
The DoD is
developing a concept called AirSea battle, which calls for the USN and
US Air Force to work together to an unprecedented degree to overcome
The problem is most acute in the Pacific
theatre, where the USN's aircraft carrier fleet would be the tip of the
spear. The mainstay of the carrier decks is the F/A-18 fleet, but those
aircraft might not be up to the task.
"They are not well-suited
for AirSea battle-like operations against a highly capable enemy
equipped with advanced anti-access/area denial systems," Gunzinger says.
New surface-to-air weapons and emerging airborne threats pose a lethal
threat to non-stealthy aircraft.
"This isn't just a navy issue
of course, the same can be said about the air force's F-15 and F-16
fleet," Gunzinger says. "All three legacy fighter platforms would be
outmatched in a fight against the [Chinese Chengdu] J-20 or [Russian
Analyst Jan Van Tol, also of the CSBA, says that
the USN needs ask itself just how much effort it should expend in
trying to upgrade its Super Hornet fleet. It also needs to ask itself
just how useful those legacy aircraft are and over what time period. It
also needs to ask itself what role those aircraft might still play in
the emerging battlespace.
"How long before the sustained
high-end A2/AD threat becomes really formidable and flying such aircraft
becomes like flying Brewster Buffaloes in 1942?" he asks.
says that the in the western Pacific, the A2AD threat is already
formidable enough that it poses a lethal problem for fourth-generation
fighters. Iran could also pose similar challenges by about 2020, he
But, moreover, the carrier itself might be challenged in certain theatres as it nears the enemy's coast.
of aircraft survivability, you still need to get the carriers close
enough-tough to do early in a fight against [anti-ship cruise missiles]
and [anti-ship ballistic missiles]," Gunzinger says.
potential solution is to increase the distance the carrier might stay
offshore, but that would require longer ranged stealth aircraft.
USN plans call for the F/A-18E/F to remain in service well into the
2030s before they are eventually replaced by an F/A-XX. The FA-XX,
should it become a reality, is expected to be stealthy, have increased
kinematic performance and offer significantly longer range compared to
existing naval aircraft.
Meanwhile, later this decade, the
stealthy Lockheed Martin F-35C will join the Super Hornet on the carrier
deck, but the older aircraft will dominate the air wing for the
foreseeable future. Even so, the F-35C probably does not have the kind
of range the USN really needs.
With the US strategic shift
towards the Pacific theatre, the problem of conducting operations inside
A2AD environments has become a much more pertinent topic within the
halls of the Pentagon.
When asked about plans for the future of
naval aviation operating inside those environments, the USN leadership
declined to comment. But in a separate interview about the service's
plans for the Super Hornet fleet, Captain Frank Morley, the USN's
programme manager for the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G Growler, says that the
Super Hornet can and will play a role fighting in emerging A2AD
The Super Hornet is designed for "balanced survivability," Morley says.
will use a combination of signature management, stand-off weapons,
counter-measures and jamming support from its EA-18G sibling to survive
in heavily defended areas.
Morley says that the USN will not
rely on any one weapon to fight in those complex environments but rather
it will bring a host of capabilities to bear to defeat those threats.
"It an environment that the US Navy has to deal with," Morely says.
A new distributed targeting system (DTS) for the US Navy's fleet
of Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets is scheduled to enter operational
testing this summer, says a senior service official.
The new targeting system should enter into service with the fleet by
early next year, says Captain Frank Morley, the service's programme
manager for the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G.
"The distributed targeting system allows you to self-generate
GPS-quality mensurated coordinates onboard the airplane autonomously,"
That means that the Super Hornet will be able to use coordinates
generated by its sensors, for example its Raytheon APG-79 active
electronically scanned array (AESA) radar or its Raytheon AN/ASQ-228
Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) pod, and compare
that to a precise onboard imagery database to generate precise weapons
Every Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler will eventually be retrofitted with the new technology, Morley says.
Meanwhile, the Boeing is about one year into a development programme
to field a new infrared search and track (IRST) pod that should be
fielded on the Super Hornet fleet by late 2016, Morley says. Developed
in conjunction with Lockheed Martin, the new sensor is an evolution of
the Northrop Grumman F-14D Tomcat's AN/AAS-42 IRST camera. Boeing
upgraded the Tomcat's camera technology for foreign F-15 sales, Morley
says. The variant of the sensor that will be added to the Super Hornet
is a further development of Boeing's F-15 developments.
"It's an evolutionary development path," Morley says. "So it's not
just the same sensor being thrown in, but certainly you're not starting
from a clean sheet of paper either."
For the Super Hornet, the USN opted for a podded-solution. A pod
avoids retrofit costs, Morley says. An internal system would require
modifications to the aircraft's outer mold-line and avionics hardware
changes, which would require extensive testing. Nor does the USN need
the pod for every mission, Morley says. The IRST is only required for
air-to-air focused missions like fleet air defence or air superiority.
As such, the USN will only buy about 170 pods, which it will use only as
needed, Morley says. That should save the USN a considerable sum of
One of the unique design features of the new IRST pod is that it is
built into an external fuel tank. Because the aircraft's centerline
station is the optimum position for the IRST pod, it has to take the
place of the Super Hornet's ever-present drop-tank.
"It's really the best place to put a podded solution for an IRST mouth on an airplane," Morley says.
The centerline station is far enough forward that it affords a
podded-sensor an unobstructed up and down view, Morley says, which is
critical for the sensor to be effective. In order to preserve the Super
Hornet's range, the USN opted to have the sensor built into the forward
half of the fuel tank. That way, some two-thirds of the fuel is still
available for use.
Pilots can still jettison the pod for the sake of safety, but they
would only do so in the most extreme of circumstances, Morley says.
In the future, the USN is hoping to further exploit the capabilities
of the APG-79 while adding further combat identification methods,
electronic attack and electronic protection upgrades on to the jet.
But one of the most important planned capabilities will be better
multi-sensor integration (MSI). The aircraft will eventually be able to
correlate all of the disparate information generated by the radar,
ATFLIR, electronic warfare systems and data-links into one clear
tactical picture, Morley says.
"One thing we are actively doing is modifying in a somewhat
fundamental way the way we display a lot of the information," Morley
says. "Because there is a significant amount of information coming on
The USN is looking at programmes like the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
and elements of the F-35 programme for ideas. But the USN is not
limiting itself--there are other concepts found within industry that are
compelling, Morley says.
That could lead the USN to consider installing new cockpit displays
into the Super Hornet in the future. One possibility is Boeing large
area display technology, Morley says.
May 30 12 9:21 AM
May 31 12 2:26 PM
May 31 12 2:41 PM
May 31 12 2:48 PM
May 31 12 2:52 PM
istobie wrote:For anyone really interested in how the US worked it's way forward from the Phantom to the F16, into Desert Storm, have a look at this paper
Some harsh words about the fighter mafia
May 31 12 3:00 PM
May 31 12 3:07 PM
May 31 12 7:01 PM
istobie wrote:From the POGO Wiki
So, basically, anything new then? C130J? What'd that do wrong? There's some actual turkeys on that list but there's a pile of stuff that seems to work fine in service today there?
May 31 12 8:14 PM
May 31 12 8:24 PM
May 31 12 10:42 PM
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