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F-35 Lightning II - Discussione Ufficiale


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Tra le altre cose uno degli step del Block 4 introduce le SDB II battezzate GBU 53/B StormBreaker https://www.janes.com/article/81956/stormbreaker-enters-operational-test-phase Poco interess

Forse può essere interessante soffermarsi su qualche aspetto della struttura dell’F-35 e sulla sua evoluzione a partire dal primo prototipo, per arrivare ai velivoli di serie, che hanno recepito quant

In realtà, anche se a prima vista non sembra, il tettuccio dell’F-35 è in un pezzo singolo... Il montante è un supporto che fa da appoggio all’interno, ma non divide il plexiglass in due, pe

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F-35 Lightning: The Joint Strike Fighter Program, 2012 ... un ulteriore segnalazione riguardo al LRIP 5

 

Dec 14/12: LRIP-5. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $127.7 million fixed-price-incentive-fee and cost-plus-incentive-fee modification, finalizing the F-35’s LRIP Lot 5 contract for 32 planes. This contract also includes funds for manufacturing support equipment; 2 program array assemblies; ancillary mission equipment, including pilot flight equipment; preparation for ferrying the aircraft; and redesign to change parts with diminishing manufacturing sources.

 

News reports place the contract’s figures at $3.8 billion, but a review of past contracts, and conversation with Lockheed Martin, show that the entire LRIP-5 is actually $5.15 billion. The distribution also differs from some reports: 21 F-35As, 4 F-35Bs, and 7 F-35Cs. Past awards, in millions, include:

 

Dec 14/12: $127.7 (finalize)

Aug 6/12: $209.8 (spares)

Apr 13/12: $258.8 (add 1 F-35B, 1 F-35C for USA)

March 12/12: $56.4 (support of delivery schedule)

Dec 27/11: $485 (production requirements, incl. some tooling)

Dec 9/11: $4,011.9 (initial 30: 21 F-35A, 3 F-35B, 6 F-35C)

 

So $5.15 billion is the entire contract LRIP-5 so far, including planes, spares/support and tooling/ manufacturing investments (PNR). The support and PNR pieces are still unfinalized and in negotiations, so the figure could climb slightly higher. For the planes themselves, the announced figures add up to about $4.398 billion ($4,011.9 + 258.8 + 127.7), or an average of $137.45 million per plane.

 

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (35%); El Segundo, CA (25%); Warton, United Kingdom (20%); Orlando, FL (10%); Nashua, NH (5%); and Baltimore, MD (5%), and is expected to be completed in October 2014. All contract funds were committed on award, and $112.9 million will expire on Sept 30/12 (N00019-10-C-0002).

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.. in Norvegia sono tranquilli Norwegian Minister of Defense Reassured by Meeting with Secretary Panetta, Confident in Norway’s Choice of the F-35

 

The F-35 program is of vital importance to both the United States and Norway in ensuring that we fulfil our future operational requirements. I am therefore very pleased and reassured by the recent process in the development of the F-35, says Norwegian Minister of Defence Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen, who Monday met with US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta at the Pentagon.

We have a long standing defence relationship with the United States, both through organizations such as NATO but also on a bilateral basis. It is based on a common commitment to work for a more stable and peaceful world and finding areas where we can work together to promote our common security. I find meetings like this to be essential in developing our relationship further and I believe today has been very useful in this regard.

The meeting addressed several important issues, including developments in Afghanistan and the opportunities for US and Norwegian forces to work and exercise more closely together. The F-35 and future integration of the JSM, however, were central to the discussions as Norway is about to begin preparations for the order of the main body of the procurement.

Our goal is to introduce a bill to Parliament early 2013 which allows us to receive the first aircraft to Norway in 2017. We have already ordered two aircraft for training purposes that are to be delivered in 2015, followed by another two in 2016, but these are to be based in the US. This new order is therefore a new major milestone for us. Since we are at this critical juncture I have also taken the opportunity to reiterate to Secretary Panetta the vital importance to Norway of securing integration of the JSM onto the F-35 in order to ensure that we meet our future operational needs. We truly appreciate his offer of support, but it is critical that the process moves forward. We had very good discussions today on this subject, says Ms Strøm-Erichsen.

Norway’s support for the F-35 program remains as strong as ever, and we look forward to seeing this through to the end. Our cost estimates remain stable and we are confident in our choice. I understand that some partner nations are currently making an effort to ensure that their respective fighter procurement processes are as comprehensive and as well structured as they can be, and this is to be expected – this is after all a major investment. We have no doubt, however, that this is a necessary investment and that it will help strengthen the ability of our Armed Forces to contribute to Norwegian security for several decades to come, concludes Ms Strøm-Erichsen.

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http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/feature/5/141150/f_35-lot-5-unit-costs-exceed-$223m.html

 

è tornato l'articolo di De Briganti su Defence Aerospace.

 

PARIS --- The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin on Dec. 14 signed the final contract installment for the fifth production batch of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, concluding negotiations that had to be extended for an extra year.

 

The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) said that the price of the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 5 aircraft declined by 4 percent over the previous Lot 4 contract, initiating a long-expected decline in the cost of F-35 that, it says, will ultimately lead to a halving of current prices.

 

The JPO also released the final LRIP unit price for each of the three F-35 variants. These prices are:

-- $105 million for each of 22 F-35A Conventional Take-off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft for the US Air Force;

-- $125 million for each of seven F-35C Carrier Variant (CV) aircraft for the US Navy; and

-- $113 million for each of 3 F-35B Short Take-off Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft for the US Marine Corps.

 

These prices are expressed in BY12 dollars, and do not include the aircraft’s F-135 engine, which is procured separately.

 

The average unit cost of these three variants is $114.3 million, rising to $146.3 million when the cost of its engine is added. (See Table 2)

 

Using the same methodology, we then worked out the total cost of the previous production batch, Lot 4. Lockheed was awarded 13 Lot 4 contracts, for a total value of $5,736.35 million. By dividing this amount by the 32 Lot 4 aircraft, the resulting average unit cost – without engine – comes to $179.2 million.

 

A comparison of average Lot 4 and Lot 5 unit prices (i.e., $179.2 million to $183.6 million), shows an increase of 2.5%, and not the 4% reduction claimed by JPO.

 

Finally, the program office also provided current unit recurring fly-away (URF) prices for the 43 aircraft currently under contract (29 for the United States and 14 for foreign partners). These prices are $127 million for the F-35A, $164 million for the F-35B and $148 million for the F-35C, including their engines.

 

In other words, the JPO’s official line is that the program partners:

- will pay an average of $114.3 million for each of 32 LRIP 5 airframes (mean of the cost of three variants, as stated by JPO);

- increasing to $146.3 million with engines, and

- that it is confident that average prices will decline by 38% over the life of the program.

 

This 38% reduction is the drop JPO anticipates between its official average LRIP 5 cost (i.e., $146.3 million) and the average $90.7 million target cost it projects over the life of the program.

 

Given the way the program has evolved to date, the wide range of development problems that must be fixed, and the delay the program has accumulated there is little to justify JPO’s continued confidence in these figures.

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... tanto per non parlare solo di costi F-35B hovering in the darkness as seen through the Night Vision Goggles

 

The following awesome pictures show the F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) aircraft BF-4 hovering in the darkness during a night test flight at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, on Dec. 13, 2012.

NVGs concentrate and intensify light by optical means the typical monochrome green tint of the night vision goggles is by design: it is the one that is better perceived and distingued by the human eye.

 

F-35B-NVG-3.jpg

 

F-35B-NVG-1.jpg

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non so se è già stato postato (risale al 2011), lo segnalo comunque

 

viedo http://youtu.be/Ki86x1WKPmEù

 

e F-35 'Pushes the Envelope'

 

The F-35 Integrated Test Force made significant progress expanding the flight envelope of the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant over the past few months with numerous successes in High Angle of Attack (AoA) flight test, with the completion of the first intentional departure of controlled flight Dec. 4 and now having tested the aircraft to 50 degrees AoA.

Prior to these milestones, developmental test with the F-35A was restricted to a flight envelope between -10 and 20 degrees AoA. Now, test maneuvers are being executed up to 50 AoA and intentional departures are being conducted to explore the aircraft behavior even beyond this boundary. Results will be used to clear F-35 operational aircraft to 50 AOA, directly supporting the air superiority needs of the warfighter by allowing them to aggressively maneuver the F-35A.

Throughout the High AoA testing, the F-35A's performance has closely matched piloted simulator results and modeled predictions, giving the team the confidence in the jet to continue moving forward in the test plan.

"We are significantly matching models and it gives us good confidence in the aircraft and how to polish the flight control systems so it's even better than what we started with. Going into this unknown area of High AoA, we really like when things match. It makes you feel very safe, although we will remain cautious all the way though," said David Nelson, F-35 chief test pilot from Lockheed Martin.

"We don't want a first lieutenant going through F-35 school to be the first person to see something. We, as a flight test community, feel this is a protection and a promise we must deliver to the warfighter," he continued.

As a result of the success, the F-35 ITF has also gained momentum in delivering an envelope in 2014 to the program office to the design limit of 50 degrees AoA, along with the ability to pull 7gs throughout the envelope, and also ensuring that the jet can fly out to 700 knots and 1.6 mach.

"This is a huge milestone for the program. This is so important because in 2014, the F-35 program has made a commitment to deliver a flight envelope to the U.S. Air Force. But more than that, we are doing this so we put test pilots like "Doc" Nelson in a position where we hope no other pilot ever has to deal with. But, if they find themselves in that position, we will have seen it and have verified that they can recover the aircraft," said Lt. Col. George Schwartz, 461st Flight Test Squadron commander.

To mitigate the inherent risk associated with the testing, the High AoA test team began taking shape more than eight years ago, made up of the best flight test professionals in their respective fields, with diverse backgrounds including the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-18 Hornet and F-22 Raptor.

"We have a team where every person is first-string. No one in the world today, who is testing airplanes, is more proficient at doing this than the members of the High Angle of Attack Test Team. They are the world class experts for this particular type of testing," said Nelson.

From the team's inception, Nelson found out he had been selected to fly the High AoA missions. For more than eight years, he has been flying the High AoA maneuvers in a simulator preparing for the opportunity to fly the missions at Edwards.

Nelson was not alone in preparing for the High AoA testing. By the time the F-35 ITF was ready to fly the first mission, the test team had already been functioning like a well-oiled machine.

"This isn't cliché; the team really does function as a well-oiled machine. These people were trained very well. For many of them, training began in air start testing earlier this year. Talk about high risk, we turned our one engine off and were able to get it started again," said Nelson.

"That was a build-up to High AoA because when we go out of control, there's always a chance we don't know what's going to happen. It could be that the engine flames out because the intake wasn't meant to spin sideways. And we've seen that before. As a result, we're ready. All pilots flying High AoA did air starts earlier this year," he continued.

While the F-35 ITF was well rehearsed and prepared to begin High AoA testing, the team had one more challenge to overcome before getting underway.

They had to successfully attach the spin recovery chute (SRC) to the aft of AF-4; giving pilots the capability to deploy the parachute and safely recover the aircraft in flight should the aircraft not be able to regain control during High AoA testing.

"This piece of equipment is a safety of test hardware; meaning that it's critical for the testing of High AoA for safety reasons. We're intentionally putting the aircraft into a nearly unrecoverable state of flight conditions and this piece of equipment is absolutely necessary if we do go out of control," said Dillon Davis, F-35 flight test engineer from Lockheed Martin.

"The SRC is necessary to be able to recover the aircraft in flight. It's necessary for safety of hardware, but more importantly safety for the pilot," he continued.

Maintainers from the F-35 ITF encountered several unique challenges while performing the modification to the aircraft. While some of the problems were anticipated, the team remained unsure of their extent. Through creative ingenuity the F-35 ITF overcame challenges associated with executing the modification for the first time.

"We ran into a lot of first times with this modification and that always adds additional challenges when you're doing something for the first time," said Davis.

Contributing to the challenging circumstances, is the design of the F-35 and the fact that the SRC is considered flight test hardware and therefore not designed with long-term maintenance in mind.

"There were some inaccessible nut plates inside a fuel cell and when you break the nut plates off they were not accessible through any standard way. In the end, we ended up cutting holes directly into the skin of the aircraft, right into a fuel cell. That was not the only inaccessible area for nut plates. Another area only became accessible once the engine was removed," said Davis.

Once the team integrated the SRC to AF-4, they were once again faced with a unique challenge and had to figure out how to fix the gaps between the SRC fittings and the aircraft.

"Once the SRC quadrapod was integrated on the aircraft, we found gaps between the SRC fittings and the aircraft structure. We had to figure out how to shim those gaps. We found some liquid shim, which is a tricky material to work with especially in the horizontal configuration. In fact, using this had never been done in a horizontal configuration for SRC fittings," said Davis.

Modification for the aircraft began in early August and continued throughout the month of October until the team finally conducted the SRC taxi deployment test Oct. 20.

Although the integration of the SRC took longer than initially expected, the program made up valuable time with the recent successes of the High AoA testing.

"The testing is going very well; I'm extremely pleased with the progress. But, it's important to note that we are finding areas for improvement. We are feeding that information back for follow-on software versions that will make the aircraft safer and effective in maneuvering at high angles of attack. By the time we get done, the aircraft will fly up to 50 degrees angle of attack with care-free handling qualities" said Schwartz.

 

The spin recovery chute fitted to an F-35 shows why fitting a drag chute is such a problem: both the chute and its cable have to be kept well away from the engine’s exhaust, and there is no suitable place to anchor the cable.

141213_1.jpg

 

 

... ancora dal Canada Military will contract out air-to-air refuelling if Canada goes with F-35

 

The Canadian military has decided it will rely on the U.S., other allies and private companies for air-to-air refuelling if the government purchases the F-35 because the stealth fighters aren’t compatible with Canada’s current refuelling aircraft.

The revelation is buried in an explosive report released last week and means the Canadian military would be reliant on third parties to realize the full benefits of its F-35s — a situation opposition critics and analysts say is completely unacceptable.

“I’m shocked,” said former defence department military procurement chief Alan Williams.

“At the end of the day, we want to provide our men and women in uniform the ability to do the job. And certainly eliminating that flexibility to be able to refuel when we want with our own assets is a very limiting factor.”

Air-to-air refuelling is considered to be of critical importance to Canada’s military aircraft given the country’s massive size, particularly when it comes to conducting sovereignty missions in the North.

F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin initially said the stealth fighter would be compatible with Canada’s existing refuelling aircraft — a claim repeated by Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

“Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the plane, has confirmed that the F-35 can handle different types of refuelling systems, including the one currently used by our forces,” MacKay told Parliament on Jan. 31, 2011.

Numerous defence department documents subsequently showed the F-35 was in fact incompatible with Canada’s existing fleet of refuelling aircraft, but the military said it was examining ways to address the problem.

Now, according to accounting firm KPMG, National Defence has decided to change that plan and instead outsource air-to-air refuelling if Canada buys the stealth fighters.

KPMG was recently hired to verify the government’s cost estimates for the F-35. At one point it asked for clarification on the defence department’s plans for refuelling the stealth fighters in mid-air.

“With respect to air-to-air refuelling requirements, DND will rely on (the U.S.), coalition partners, or commercial refuelling assets to meet operational requirements,” reads KPMG’s final report, which was released last week.

Public Works, the department overseeing the government’s efforts to replace Canada’s aging CF-18 fighters, would only say the government is considering all options before deciding which aircraft to buy.

Williams said the decision to outsource air-to-air refuelling is not a trivial matter.

“This is a core capability,” he said. “Chances are our allies are there for us. But there’s a big difference between having to rely on them, and taking advantage of them.”

NDP military procurement critic Matthew Kellway said one of the knocks on the F-35 has always been its short range and perceived lack of suitability for sovereignty patrols and air interception in a country as vast as Canada.

“Twenty-one million lines of code and magically stealthy, and yet we can’t gas it up,” he said. “(Going) without sovereign refuelling capacity is to forgo any pretence at defence of sovereignty.”

It’s unclear if other potential replacements for the CF-18 like Boeing’s Super Hornet or the Eurofighter Typhoon would be automatically compatible with Canada’s refuelling aircraft.

But the decision to out-source air-to-air refuelling for the F-35 appears to be a matter of money and, at least according to Liberal defence critic John McKay, politics.

Edited by Andrea75
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... F-35 Unit Costs Drop Slightly in LRIP Lot 6 http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/release/141367/lockheed-wins-additional-%244.8bn-for-f_35.html (in neretto ciò che riguarda l'Italia)

 

 

Lockheed Martin has been awarded three follow-on contracts for the F-35 program worth an aggregate $4.8 billion for the Lot 6 production as well as spare parts and support for Lot 6 and Lot 7 aircraft, the Pentagon announced Dec. 28.

Added to the final LRIP Lot 5 contract awarded Dec. 14 and worth $127,740,214, these contracts bring to $4.9 billion the amount of F-35 contracts won by Lockheed this month.

The LRIP 6 contracts are not yet complete, however. The main award, worth $3.67 billion, is “undefinitized; the definition, details, cost-share and incentives for this contract will be refined in 2013, and details will be provided at a later date via separate announcement,” Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the F-35 Joint Program Office, said in a Dec. 29 e-mail.

He added that the “were no international purchases in this particular UCA; the JPO will work the Italian and Australian LRIP 6 buys separately after the first of the year.”

It also is worth noting that the main contract only includes 18 F-35A Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft for the US Air Force, instead of 19 as originally funded in the first LRIP 6 contract awarded on Aug. 8, 2011.

Regarding the first three aircraft ordered by Italy, their unit cost has increased from 63 million euros to 90 million euros, National Armaments Director Gen. Claudio Debertolis told the Italian Parliament’s defense committee during a Dec. 5 hearing.

He added that the increase is mainly due to Italy’s decision to reduce its planned off-take from 131 to 90 aircraft, and to defer their delivery for several years. “The dilution of [our] acquisition orders has allowed immediate savings of 4 billion euros is the short term,” Debertolis added, “but also caused an increase in the cost of the first few aircraft, which will be absorbed as production increases.”

Debertolis also provided some Unit Recurring Fly-away (URF) costs for Italy’s F-35s.
The first CTOL aircraft, due to be delivered in 2015, will cost $127.3m (€97.9m), but by the time production picks up in 2021 he expects this figure will have dropped to $83.4m (or €64.1m).

Italy’s first F-35B STOVL aircraft, to be delivered in 2017, will cost $137.1m (€105.5m), but similar aircraft to be delivered from 2021 should cost only $108.1m (€83.1m).

Both URF cost figures, however, are significantly higher than the €63 million average cost that Debertolis had provided to the committee in a previous hearing in February.


These are the three F-35 contracts awarded to Lockheed on Dec. 28:

-- Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $3,677,916,910 undefinitized modification to the previously awarded F-35 Lightning II low rate initial production lot 6 advance acquisition contract (N00019-11-C-0083) for the procurement of 18 conventional take-off and landing aircraft for the Air Force; six short take-off vertical landing aircraft for the Marine Corps; and seven Carrier Variant aircraft for the Navy.
In addition, this modification provides for all associated ancillary mission equipment.
Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (35 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (25 percent); Warton, United Kingdom (20 percent); Orlando, Fla. (10 percent); Nashua, N.H. (5 percent); and Baltimore, Md. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in February 2015.
Contract funds in the amount of $1,838,590,663 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.


--Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $753,420,000 undefinitized modification to the previously awarded F-35 Lightning II low rate initial production lot 6 advance acquisition contract (N00019-11-C-0083) to provide non-recurring sustainment and logistics support for delivered and projected air systems.
This modification includes site stand-up and depot activation activities and the procurement of Autonomic Logistics Information System hardware and software; training systems; support equipment and spares.
Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (35 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (25 percent); Warton, United Kingdom (20 percent); Orlando, Fla. (10 percent); Nashua, N.H. (5 percent); and Baltimore, Md. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2015.
Contract funds in the amount of $375,160,000 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.


-- Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $374,495,232 undefinitized modification to the previously awarded F-35 Lightning II low rate initial production lot 6 advance acquisition contract (N00019-11-C-0083) the manufacture and delivery of initial air vehicle spares in support of 60 low rate initial production lot VI and VII air vehicles (37 Air Force conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) aircraft; 12 Marine Corps short take-off vertical landing aircraft; and 11 Navy Carrier Variant aircraft.
Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (35 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (25 percent); Warton, United Kingdom (20 percent); Orlando, Fla. (10 percent); Nashua, N.H. (5 percent); and Baltimore, Md. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2015.
Contract funds in the amount of $374,495,232 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

 

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... sempre sul prossimo contratto LRIP-6 (che ci vede coinvolti) http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/f-35-lightning-the-joint-strike-fighter-program-2012-07501/

 

 

Dec 28/12: LRIP-6. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, TX receives a not-to-exceed $3.678 billion unfinalized modification to the low rate initial production lot 6 advance acquisition contract. It covers 29 planes: 18 F-35As, 6 F-35Bs, and 7 USN F-35Cs, plus “all associated ancillary mission equipment.” LRIP-6 contracts to date total $5,536.8 million, and include:
  • Dec 28/12: $3,677.9 (main 29: 18 F-35A, 6 F-35B, 7 F-35C)
  • Dec 28/12: $735.4 (support)
  • Dec 6/12: $386.7 (long-lead)
  • June 15/12: $489.5 (long-lead 35: 18 F-35A, 6 F-35B, 4 F-35C; 3 F-35A Italy, 2 F-35A Turkey, 1 F-35B Britain)
  • March 12/12: $38.6 (F-35A long-lead)
  • Feb 9/12: $14.6 (F-35B long-lead)
  • Jan 6/12: $194.1 (engines)

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (35%); El Segundo, CA (25%); Warton, United Kingdom (20%); Orlando, FL (10%); Nashua, NH (5%); and Baltimore, MD (5%), and is expected to be complete in February 2015. $1.839 billion is committed immediately (N00019-11-C-0083).

LRIP Lot 6 main

Dec 28/12: LRIP-6 support. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, TX receives a not-to-exceed $753.4 million unfinalized modification to the LRIP-6 advance acquisition contract, for one-time sustainment and logistics support. This modification also includes site stand-up and depot activation activities, Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) hardware and software, training systems, support equipment, and spares.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (35%); El Segundo, CA (25%); Warton, United Kingdom (20%); Orlando, FL (10%); Nashua, NH (5%); and Baltimore, MD (5%), and is expected to be complete in December 2015. $375.2 million is committed immediately (N00019-11-C-0083).

Dec 28/12: LRIP-6 & 7 support. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, TX receives a not-to-exceed $374.5 million unfinalized modification to the LRIP-6 advance acquisition contract. It covers initial spares in support of 60 F-35s from LRIP Lot 6 and LRIP Lot 7: 37 F-35As, 12 F-35B STOVL, and 11 F-35Cs.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (35%); El Segundo, CA (25%); Warton, United Kingdom (20%); Orlando, FL (10%); Nashua, NH (5%); and Baltimore, MD (5%), and is expected to be complete in November 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $374,495,232 is committed immediately (N00019-11-C-0083).

Dec 28/12: Studies. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $48 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to perform engineering, programmatic, and logistics tasks supporting investigations or studies covering various systems in the F-35 Lightning II.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete in December 2015. $7.2 million is committed at the time of award. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 (N00019-13-D-0005).

Dec 28/12: LRIP-5 support. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, TX receives a not-to-exceed $17.1 million unfinalized modification the LRIP Lot 5 contract. This modification buys initial air vehicle spares for LRIP-5 F-35As.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (35%); El Segundo, CA (25%); Warton, United Kingdom (20%); Orlando, FL (10%); Nashua, NH (5%); and Baltimore, MD (5%), and is expected to be complete in November 2015. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/13 (N00019-10-C-0002).

 

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... dal Project on Government Oversight (POGO): Wheeler’s Dogfight with the F-35 http://www.pogo.org/blog/2013/01/wheelers-dogfight-with-thef-35.html

 

 

Winslow Wheeler, who famously described the F-35 as the “Jet that ate the Pentagon,” spoke with National Public Radio (NPR) for a two-part series on the over-priced and underperforming F-35 or Joint Strike Fighter Program (JSF).

Wheeler explained that Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the jet, uses a pricing vocabulary that masks costs. “Flyaway costs, non-recurring and recurring costs, and lots of gobbledygook, and they’ll say that comes to a number like $60-$70 million dollars. And, it’s complete baloney,” said Wheeler.

While each F-35 is not quite the most expensive fighter jet ever—that notoriety goes to the F-22 Raptors, which cost upwards of $678 million apiece—the F-35 is the most expensive weapons program ever, with the total cost to buy and operate all F-35’s estimated to be more than $1.5 trillion.

Despite this exorbitant cost, Wheeler told NPR, the plane is underperforming because its varied requirements force it to make compromises that result in a plane that is mediocre at everything.

Peter Goon, a defense expert with Air Power Australia, agreed that the JSF was woefully deficient. This is particularly problematic, Goon told NPR, because foreign militaries are presenting capabilities “far superior to the JSF.”

The spiraling costs and performance issues led the Canadian government to reconsider purchasing the F-35. But, the Pentagon has remained stubbornly undeterred, awarding $4.8 billion in new F-35 contracts to Lockheed Martin in late December. This contract award comes amidst strained relations between the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin, which, according to a top Pentagon official, are “the worst I’ve ever seen.”

POGO recommends cancelling the more expensive and problematic variants of the F-35 and replacing them with proven aircraft that cost less than half as much as the F-35.

But, Wheeler argues even that isn’t enough. As he wrote in Foreign Policy, “There is only one thing to do with the F-35: Junk it. America’s air forces deserve a much better aircraft, and the taxpayers deserve a much cheaper one. The dustbin awaits.”

 

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Canadian Military Would Need To Outsource F-35 Refueling http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130107/DEFREG02/301070004/Canadian-Military-Would-Need-Outsource-F-35-Refueling?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

 

 

Canada will rely on either private companies or its allies for midair refueling if it decides to purchase F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to replace its CF-18 fighter aircraft.

But critics and analysts say the decision raises key issues about Canadian sovereignty and military capabilities.

Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) will not comment on the plan, but confirmation of the decision is contained in a brief passage in a government-ordered audit of Canada’s proposed F-35 buy. The 30-page audit by KMPG noted the cost of modifying the F-35s so they can be refueled in midair by Canadian aircraft is not included in the overall price tag of the fighter program because DND will not proceed with that option.

“With respect to air-to-air refueling requirements, DND will rely on NORAD [North American Aerospace Defense Command], coalition partners, or commercial refueling assets to meet operational requirements,” stated the audit, “Next Generation Fighter Capability,” released Dec. 2.

The Royal Canadian Air Force hopes to purchase the F-35A, which uses a boom refueling system. The service’s existing CC-150 Polaris tankers use only the probe and drogue system, which is used by the F35-B and C.

Alan Williams, DND’s former head of procurement who approved Canada’s participation in the F-35 program, said the department’s plan makes no sense.

“Are we going to spend a large amount of money on new fighters and then rely on allies to refuel aircraft over Canadian territory?” he asked. “Is Canada no longer a sovereign country?”

Defense analyst Martin Shadwick described the decision as a step backward for the Air Force. Canada went without strategic air-to-air refueling for a decade when it retired its older fleet of tankers in 1997, he noted. The Canadian Forces has a fleet of Hercules aircraft that can provide short-range tactical refueling to CF-18 fighters, but they are aging, Shadwick said.

Air Force commanders deemed the longer-range strategic air-to-air refueling capability critical, and 126 million Canadian dollars ($127.7 million) was spent modifying two Polaris aircraft for that role. Those aircraft became fully operational about three years ago but because of the decision not to modify the Canadian F-35s, the planes won’t be able to refuel those aircraft.

Shadwick said Canada’s ability to contribute to international missions could be limited.

NORAD officials did not comment about whether U.S. tankers would be available for Canadian needs. A spokesman for the Joint Strike Fighter Office in the U.S. referred questions to Canadian military officials. Canadian military officials did not provide comment.

Canada committed in 2010 to purchasing 65 F-35s, but in December, the government, under fire over questions about the increasing cost of the jets, announced it would examine other aircraft. The F-35 is still considered the odds-on favorite to replace the CF-18s, according to analysts and military officers.

Shadwick, Williams and opposition members of Parliament, such as Liberal Party defense critic John McKay, said the move appears to be tied to government efforts to keep F-35 costs low.

Lockheed Martin officials confirmed in 2010 that the Canadian military asked the company to look at installing into Canadian F-35s a refueling system capable of accepting a probe and drogue.

 

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Pilots Prepare for Landing on Royal Navy's New Carriers http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/release/141487/british-pilots-train-to-land-f_35-on-new-carriers.html

 

 

RAF and Royal Navy personnel have been training with the Flight Control Office - or Flyco - of the carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth at the BAE Systems simulator at Warton in Lancashire.

When the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the F-35 comes in to land on the deck of the UK’s next carriers it will be vital that pilots are well-versed in the skills of landing on a moving deck.

Pete Wilson, BAE Systems’ lead test pilot for the F-35 STOVL aircraft, said:

We are very supportive here in trying to help the customer come to terms with what the change to the STOVL version means in terms of bringing that aeroplane back in to land on the Queen Elizabeth carriers.

We are reverting back to a manoeuvre called ‘shipborne rolling vertical landing’ which means we are going to bring the F-35B in to land on the deck at about 60 knots (111 kilometres per hour).

It’s a complex engineering problem to try to solve because we don’t want to come down too steeply - that could break the aeroplane.

We don’t want to come down too fast because we would not be able to stop and would run off the front of the carrier which is clearly a disastrous situation. We don’t have a hook on the aeroplane so we have to stop using our wheelbrakes alone.

And we can’t afford to come down too shallow because if the stern of the ship comes up high towards the flight path we could hit the back of the ship and that’s also disastrous.

Mr Wilson added:

The work we are doing is extremely important as a risk-reduction measure; what we are getting is an insight into the future so we are able to simulate the air around the ship, the lights which are embedded in the deck, and the procedures and radio calls we are going to use.

We are solving problems and putting design in place now when it is cheaper and easier than it would be later. I would say we are saving millions of dollars of potential design change in the future. It is immensely important work and that’s why we are here in this world class simulator facility.

In a busy year, Mr Wilson said that the team has met its milestones:

Every month we have a certain number of test points we have to execute which means flying the aeroplane a lot and we have managed to surpass the testing point requirement for the year, which is a significant achievement.

One objective of the trials has been to come up with a set of requirements that define which tools and techniques are required by the Landing Signals Officers in the Flyco, helping in the safe recovery of the approaching aircraft.

 

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Pubblicato il report annuale dell'Office of Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) sull'F-35. In pratica il report che il Pentagono ha inviato al Congresso sullo stato del programma: http://timemilitary.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/f-35-jsf-dote-fy12-annual-report.pdf

 

Raggiunti, a fine novembre 2012 20006 test points sui 59585 previsti in totale, pari a circa il 34%. Questo dato all'inizio mi ha sconcertato perché praticamente identico al risultato già raggiunto al 22 agosto, come segnalato da Flaggy in questo post, malgrado i test stiano adesso procedendo a velocità superiore a quanto previsto, secondo quanto evidenziato dal report stesso.

 

La spiegazione è questa:

 

 

The need for regression testing of fixes (repeat testing of previously accomplished points with newer versions of software) displaced opportunities to meet flight test objectives.

 

Inoltre

 

The flight rate of the mission systems test aircraft also exceeded the planned rate during the year, but overall progress in mission systems was limited. This was due to delays in software delivery, limited capability in the software when delivered, and regression testing of multiple software versions (required to fix problems, not add capability).

 

 

Riporto alcuni articoli di commento:

 

Pentagon report cites "lack of maturity" of Lockheed F-35 jet

 

F-35 Marine Model Stress-Testing Halted After Cracks Discovered

 

Hot Stuff: The F-35 Just Became 25% More Vulnerable


Edited by Scagnetti
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Sei sicuro del link ?

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Grazie perchè era sbagliato il collegamento, ho corretto.

 

Per chiarezza rimetto qui il link all'articolo del Segretario della Difesa USA che conferma gli impegni USA per lo F-35 in Italia.

 

Vai al link

Edited by -{-Legolas-}-
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Ehm, ma casomai non è l'Italia che dovrebbe confermare gli impegni per l'F-35? Al limite Panetta avrebbe dovuto confermare gli impegni USA verso il C-27.

Comunque mi sembra che sia Panetta che Monti non siano nella condizione di riconfermare niente, sono entrambi in uscita e il rischio di sequestration incombe ancora sugli USA.

 

Avevo letto del tour europeo di Panetta, non ne ho capito molto il senso, avrebbe avuto molta più consistenza un giro di Kerry che lo sostituirà a brevissimo.

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Risposta di LM al report del DOT&E: Lockheed addresses Pentagon F-35 DOT&E report

 

Lockheed Martin says it is not disputing the facts laid out in the Pentagon's Director of Operational Test Evaluation (DOT&E) report on the company's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), but says that many of the issues raised have already been addressed.

 

 

"The challenges that are identified in the report are known items, normal discoveries," says Steve O'Bryan, Lockheed's F-35 business development director. "When you look at it from a holistic sense, when you really talk about beginning OT [operational test] in 2017, these are known discoveries, known challenges, and the kind of normal discoveries you'd see in a flight test programme of this size and complexity." Despite the problems highlighted in the report, O'Bryan says 2012 went very well for the stealthy tri-service fighter. "In my humble opinion, it was our best year on the programme," he says.

 

 

 

...Additionally, the Italian final assembly line should start delivering jets this year, O'Bryan says.

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La situazione è sotto controllo. Qualche centinaie di milioni di $ (e di €) e tutto tornerà a posto. Fino alla prossima "piccola avaria".

L'hanno chiamato "Lithning", ci sarà un motivo....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/9813125/Lightning-will-ground-F35-fighter-jet-known-as-the-Lightning-II.html

Edited by blitz
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