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MarkW

F-35 news roundup

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With regard to fatalities, my previous comments were only focused on time and money.

Typical LM Greed.

Safety numbers have been decreasing steadily with every new program. i don't believe the F-22 development program had no fatalities, nor did the T-45 and SH programs.

opposite day in Mass.?

Did anyone die during the testing of the legacy Hornet (not 100% sure)? Zero fatalities is to be expected these days. So I guess you can throw you hands up and cheer that the F-35 hasn't killed anyone (yet) but to me, that should be the norm anyway.

Don't confuse lack of death with lack of crashes.

And who was Harrier? Osprey? Gripen? Airplanes still crash in testing, and unfortunately people do get lost.

Nothing routine about this stuff

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Typical LM Greed.

opposite day in Mass.?

Don't confuse lack of death with lack of crashes.

And who was Harrier? Osprey? Gripen? Airplanes still crash in testing, and unfortunately people do get lost.

Nothing routine about this stuff

Resorting to gigs on grammar? I'm down with that, so OK, WHO was Harrier? And for the record, every day is opposite day in the People's Republic.

So by this new emphasis on fatalities during testing, can we now assume that the current party line is "Hey, we know the JSF is obscenely over-budget and the schedule is blown (though we'll never admit to any of this) but it's all good because it hasn't killed anyone"?

Works for me, Safety First!

Edited by 11bee

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TT, you're a big proponent of the MV-22 so by the "no deaths" criteria, it should have never reached IOC then, right?

-Gregg

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TT, you're a big proponent of the MV-22 so by the "no deaths" criteria, it should have never reached IOC then, right?

-Gregg

You're missing the point.

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You're missing the point.

... and you missed mine.

-Gregg

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Resorting to gigs on grammar? I'm down with that, so OK, WHO was Harrier? And for the record, every day is opposite day in the People's Republic.

I just noticed it and lulzed.

So by this new emphasis on fatalities during testing, can we now assume that the current party line is "Hey, we know the JSF is obscenely over-budget and the schedule is blown (though we'll never admit to any of this) but it's all good because it hasn't killed anyone"?

Works for me, Safety First!

I don't think anyone is claiming there was never a delay. I do personally think that with Safety being such an incredible bugaboo, That a lot of caution to the point of causing further slowness is a factor

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TT, you're a big proponent of the MV-22 so by the "no deaths" criteria, it should have never reached IOC then, right?

-Gregg

Here let me break it down for you real simple like for ya:

1. F-14 sighted as "rocky development" but better than F-35. I disagree say Tomcat had poor development that cost people and aircraft, and never fully eliminated the problems that plagued the Tomcat. I also think the Tomcat was worth having, despite its issues, unfortunatly its development was rushed (which would explain both the "short development time" and of course the many many blocks)

2. Mentioned V-22 as a more recent program that had crashes and death after 11bee basically said well "nothing crashes anymore anyway" or words to that effect (John feel free to disagree with me here if I misqouted you)

3. At no point did I say that V-22 should not reach IOC (nor did I say any other program that had crashes and death should automatically not reach IOC)

4. Never pointed to the V-22 as a program to be emulated. I think it was worth it in the end, but it was a heavy cost and I'm not just talking dollars. It was a brutal program.

I have no clue where you got:

so by the "no deaths" criteria, it should have never reached IOC

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So by your definition, the F-16 development wasn't completed until the Block 60 showed up 30 years later? And the F/A-18's development wasn't completed until the SH was operational with the AESA radar installed? I'm fine with this interesting approach but don't we need to apply the same yardstick to the JSF? When will it's development be completed? When the last significant upgrade is added (maybe one that isn't even in development yet) or do we ring the bell and call it complete when the Marines declare it's operational later this summer? I find it hard to believe that the JSF will never have a major upgrade later in it's service life, as the F-16 has had.

Dude, you're killing me. Seriously, how could you possibly have gotten that from what I said?

Let me try yet again to explain this in simple terms. The F-16A was little more than a glorified Sopwith Camel. As were all the centuries series jets prior, which were more dependent upon engine technology development then breakthrough avionics. It was capable before, but it wasn't until the block 50/52 or later Block 60 that the jet became truly kick butt in terms of being a ground attack aircraft or a monster BVR jet.

It underwent nearly 2 complete decades of development to get to what we have now. Imagine the cost of the F-16 program if it had started out to build a Block 30 or even a Block 50 jet in 1975. It would have been astronomical. That is what I'm trying to point out, and what I've been pointing out throughout this thread. The F-35 that is fielded today and will be available in the next 6 years will be far superior to the capability relative to its peers compared to any other program in the history of military aircraft. We are not fielding and F-16A in comparative terms; we are fielding something vastly superior to a Block 60 jet on the first go round.

And yes, the addition of the AESA to the Super Hornet is what truly differentiates it from the predecessor models (that and incredibly bad gas mileage). So, you may say, isn't the F-35 derivative and many of its technologies? Didn't we already invest in the F-22 to get SAR and LPI in a fighter radar? To some extent, of course. But there is a whole bunch of other schizz the F-35 does that simply has not ever been done before on a tactical platform. It uses a completely different form of stealth coatings than previously used. It's a freaking transformer, for goodness sake. This is not remotely a evolutionary aircraft or a derivative; it is truly from the ground up brand new development doing stuff that's never been done before. Fun fact: that ain't cheap.

So yes, to bring you back to my original point, if the F-16 program in 1975 had been built to deliver a Block 50 aircraft, then we would have an apples to apples comparison. And you can bet your sweet booty that Sen. Nunn and Sen. McCurdy would have gone back in time to 1975 to introduce their legislation if that happened. If the Super Hornet program had been honest, and included total cost versus breaking up amongst 14 different programs one for engines, one for radar, one for tires, one for airframe, one for carrier compatibility testing, etc. then it's cost also would have been relatively speaking astronomical for what they accomplished.

I say again one of the biggest sins the F-35 is committed as a program was being upfront and honest about overall program costs.

But hey, I'm sure with all your program experience and all the military aircraft you delivered on time and on budget, that you are well-positioned to criticize that which you have never done and cannot do.

Edited by MarkW

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But hey, I'm sure with all your program experience and all the military aircraft you delivered on time and on budget, that you are well-positioned to criticize that which you have never done and cannot do.

Chillax Mark, it's just a model forum, no need to go condescending. One would think after your epic beat-down a while back at the hands of a true expert (agreed by many to be one of ARC's finest hours), you would be a bit more cautious about getting chesty and throwing out your "qualifications" which (as was previously noted) you are always quick to refer to but never seem to be able to define in detail. Out of idle curiosity, how many military aircraft have you delivered "on time and on budget".

My qualifications on the subject you ask? None aside from a life long interest in aviation / plastic models and a stint in the Army. I did deliver a kickin' 1/48 F-4E to my display shelf, on time and on budget, if that counts for anything. Not very impressive I know but I'm guessing that puts me in line with 95% of the other members of this forum. So unless you want to petition the mods to restrict this thread to just a few subject matter experts who you approve of, why not just save the attitude?

Peace!

Edited by 11bee

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In regards to the Tomcat development, the vast majority of the issues came from the motor. The TF-30 was intended, from the beginning, to be an interim power plant. The bean counters axed the money for the upgraded engines. That's what got a lot of the aircrew killed. "Catastrophic Turbine Failure" was the standard line written on the accident reports. The thing that amazes me about the Tomcat development was that the initial design was, I believe, in '69, and they were going on cruise by 1974. That's only a 5 year span from initial conception to squadron service. The Tomcat was extremely complex for that time-period, and it was flying in 5 years. If the money had been appropriated for the upgraded motors, you wouldn't have heard about Tomcat's falling from the sky every other day. Think of it this way. They would have essentially had an F-14B quality airframe in 1975. Instead, the Tomcat went 17 years before a major upgrade. The money issues stemmed from a fixed price point that the Navy would not renegotiate. Grumman was actually losing money on each Tomcat delivered in the first block. It was the intervention of bank loan from Iran, ironically, that kept Grumman afloat. What does all this have to do with the F-35? My thoughts are:

1. Development probably should have been faster. 10-15 years of development and there's only one Marine squadron that has them doesn't look so good. There are many factors that impact this, and there's plenty of blame to go around. Everyone involved is culpable.

2. Money. It's going to cost a lot. Everyone should know that. You get what you pay for. However, if the F-35 is in service for 30-40 years, suddenly the cost per year will be dramatically low. When the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was built, I believe it was the most expensive ship constructed at that time. Yet if that's divided by the years of service, the taxpayer got a pretty good value out of that. What's more expensive? The F-35 that will be in service for decades, or the F4D Skyray, F11F Tiger, or F3H Demon that were obsolete within 5-6 years of development?

My bottom line on the F-35. It's going to be an effective weapons platform, but they need to get their butt's in gear and get production up and running. The DoD needs to stop trying to shoehorn new technology into on the fly. Go with what you've got right now. It's still more cutting edge than anything else out there that other countries have. I'll make an analogy to modeling. Accurate Miniatures was a fantastic company. They aren't around anymore because they tried to be perfect, which ended up costing too much and they released things at a snail's pace because they kept going back to make it "better". The F-35 is the same way. Just start making them, already!

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Go with what you've got right now.

In many regards, they've done just that and people still b*tch and moan. ie - EOTS.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

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Actually in all regards. There hasn't been an attempt to shoehorn in anything--aside from the pre-planned EW upgrade--for nearly the last decade. All the money now is being spent on making it work, like the helmet. A huge amount of capability has been axed from Block 3 just to try and get something on the ramp.

How late do people really think the program is, and by what yardstick?

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Actually in all regards. There hasn't been an attempt to shoehorn in anything--aside from the pre-planned EW upgrade--for nearly the last decade. All the money now is being spent on making it work, like the helmet. A huge amount of capability has been axed from Block 3 just to try and get something on the ramp.

How late do people really think the program is, and by what yardstick?

I've read that part of the reason for slow production build output of F-35s is so that once all the bugs are ironed out they won't have to upgrade/modify F-35s that have already been built.

Once everything is up to par full scale mass production will commence.

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I've read that part of the reason for slow production build output of F-35s is so that once all the bugs are ironed out they won't have to upgrade/modify F-35s that have already been built.

Once everything is up to par full scale mass production will commence.

If there is going to be no future upgrades, we'll have an obsolescent aircraft in a short time ...

-Gregg

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If there is going to be no future upgrades, we'll have an obsolescent aircraft in a short time ...

-Gregg

I meant whatever systems are incomplete or not finished NOW.

Not future upgrades.

The F-35A/C are not IOC currently; correct?

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None of them are IOC. The Marines are three years late to IOC, which was the yardstick I was hinting at.

There are several capability upgrades that are hardware dependent. The vast, vast majority are software dependent, such as Big SAR and full MADL capability. Many of the HW based systems that are likely to need upgrades like EOTS or the EW/avionics systems are rack based and can be swapped out through a MX panel. The sticky part is if you need to run wiring or install new antennas or stuff like that. As model builders, we probably all have experienced the "oh, poo" moment when you realize that fully cured, major seam was glued together before you put the cockpit in. The F-35 manufacturing process isn't so different for some parts. That's when you get into things like re-winging the aircraft versus tearing it open with a hacksaw. That then comes down to a cost issue, and if the cost doesn't justify the upgrade, especially to a dedicated training jet, they won't do it. It sounds like they went ahead and scabbed the bulkhead repair on to these two jets, which is really hard but really needed to keep them flying.

Also, many "upgrades" are due to DMS or simple cost/power/heat saving improvements.

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None of them are IOC. The Marines are three years late to IOC, which was the yardstick I was hinting at.

There are several capability upgrades that are hardware dependent. The vast, vast majority are software dependent, such as Big SAR and full MADL capability. Many of the HW based systems that are likely to need upgrades like EOTS or the EW/avionics systems are rack based and can be swapped out through a MX panel. The sticky part is if you need to run wiring or install new antennas or stuff like that. As model builders, we probably all have experienced the "oh, poo" moment when you realize that fully cured, major seam was glued together before you put the cockpit in. The F-35 manufacturing process isn't so different for some parts. That's when you get into things like re-winging the aircraft versus tearing it open with a hacksaw. That then comes down to a cost issue, and if the cost doesn't justify the upgrade, especially to a dedicated training jet, they won't do it. It sounds like they went ahead and scabbed the bulkhead repair on to these two jets, which is really hard but really needed to keep them flying.

Also, many "upgrades" are due to DMS or simple cost/power/heat saving improvements.

Ah; Very interesting.

It appears your point helps explain why they don't want to have to go back and bring all built F-35s up to par if they go full production speed, hence, deliberate slow production builds.

Re: your first point;

I figured that was the case and the point I wanted to make to GreyGhost. They're still ironing out the bugs in the F-35.

If they find something that needs to be reworked, they don't want to have to possibly tear apart already built F-35 in order do the same.

I believe your post reenforces that point.

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They need to do something to stabilize orders. The partners keep delaying, and that slack had partially been taken up by FMS customers, but the annual pain of the LRIP procurements is not helping drive down costs.

Of course, multi year aircraft purchases prior to FRP will take some effort too.

Edited by MarkW

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Found some interesting and familiar designs from General Dynamics late 1960s/early 1970s.

Hillaker_F16_55_1267828237_3038_zpsbexw3ezv.jpg

Hillaker_F16_31_1267828237_1756_zpstkubralz.jpg

AA_19710406_ADF_Config_401B_1267828237_3743.jpg

Hillaker_F16_29_1267828237_7413_zps5yuqmb4o.jpg

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I dont know about doom and gloom, but I think the F-35 is essentially a Stealth fighter upgrade with BVR Air to Air capability, I think the F-16 and F-22 had much better abilities. I don't understand why they destroyed the Raptor tooling? All those who think maneuverability is unnecessary for a BVR fight, watch the video the F-16 trying to outmaneuver SAMs, dogfighting and maneuvering aren't dead yet

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