F-35B successfully completed initial tests with ASRAAM and Paveway IV weapons
By David Cenciotti UK F-35B has conducted first tests with ASRAAM and Paveway IV weapons at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, United States.
A British test team, has successfully completed initial trials with ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile) missiles and Paveway IV LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs) on the F-35B, the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variantof the Joint Strike Fighter, at NAS Patuxent River, US.
“Dummy” weapons (identical in shape and weight to the original ones) were tested during 9 flights in different configurations of both weapons types on two F-35Bs, flown by Billie Flynn, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 test pilot and Squadron Leader Andy Edgell from the RAF.
According to the team, which included personnel from BAE Systems, “the initial tests are an important step in integrating weapons onto the F-35B, allowing test pilots to understand how they affect the way the aircraft performs and handles.”
Such tests are the first step towards full interoperability of the two weapons, already used by the Royal Air Force on its existing fleet, with the F-35B, destined to enter in UK’s active service, with both the RAF and Royal Navy by 2018.
As already highlighted in the past, whilst carrying significant payload on external wing pylons makes the JSF more “convincing” as a multi-role platform, it makes the plane much less stealthy as well.
Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Lockheed Martin's F-35 jet has had lots of problems since its first flight in 2006. Now as the planes start to arrive at Air Force bases around the country, another issue has come to light: The F-35 can shut down when its fuel gets too hot to carry out its functions as a coolant.
Nearly 300 F-35s will be purchased before flight testing and development on the fighter are complete. "These actions place the F- 35 program on firmer footing, although aircraft will cost more and deliveries to warfighters will take longer," the 2013 GAO report states. Lockheed Martin also plans to deliver 36 low-rate, initial-production aircraft in fiscal 2013 — an increase of 20% over 2012.
F-35's Latest Glitch: Fighter Jet Can't Fire A Gun
The F-35 has state of the art stealth features, but won't be able to fire a gun for four more years, according to reports.
Lockheed Martin's (NYSE:LMT) F-35 is expected to enter combat with the Marine Corps in 2015 and Air Force in 2016. But the software on the high-tech fighter jet isn't capable of shooting the 25mm cannon on board. Officials from the Air Force told the Daily Beast that the software support won't be finished until 2019.
The weapon software issues are the latest in a series of setbacks for the overbudget and behind-schedule plane — the world's most expensive weapon program ever.
"To me, the more disturbing aspect of this delay is that it represents yet another clear indication that the program is in serious trouble," said an Air Force official cited by the Daily Beast.
An engine fire in June temporarily grounded all F-35s. Then in September a Government Accountability Office report found the cost to operate the stealth fighter could be even higher than the Defense Department anticipates and found problems with the plane's Autonomic Logistics Information System, which helps manage diagnostics, maintenance and supply-chain issues.
In October the Marine Corps said it still expects the stealth fighter to be ready for combat use in July 2015, and in November the Navy's version of the plan met 100% of requirements for a first round of sea-based testing.
The plane will still have weapon capabilities, including two Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) long range air-to-air missiles and two bombs, according to the report.
Lockheed shares initially retreated but rose 0.3% to 195.92 in late morning trading in the stock market today. The stock cleared a recent consolidation on Dec. 18.
Hmm F-35 still having issues, it feels like the F-35 has been in development for well over 10 or 15 years now and is more of a money sink than anything with all of the hype behind it and yet it feels like it can barely function without another problem popping up right away. Here's hoping once its finally out of the gates it has a long standing history.
WASHINGTON — The gun on the F-35 joint strike fighter remains on schedule to go operational in 2017, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
The Daily Beast reported on Dec. 31 that the gun would not be able to be used until 2019, but in a statement F-35 Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova described that story as a "misreporting" of the facts.
The gun in question is a 25mm system known as the GAU-22, developed by General Dynamics. It is internal on the F-35A model and carried in an external pod of the F-35B and F-35C designs. GAU-22 testing for all three models is scheduled to start this year.
Since 2005, DellaVedova said, the GAU-22 was planned to go operational with the block 3F software. That software is scheduled to go online in 2017, with low-rate initial production lot 9.
"Delivering the gun capability in 3F software is well known to the military services, International Partners and our foreign military sales (FMS) customers," DellaVedova said. "That has always been the stated requirement and plan and it hasn't varied since the technical baseline review in 2010."
DellaVedova did acknowledge a "minor low-level issue" with the gun's software, but said that issue was identified as part of testing and would be resolved by spring of 2015, without affecting the timetable for the gun's fielding.
While the gun is currently on schedule, that does leave a gap between when the first F-35 squadrons go operational and when the gun can be used. The F-35B jump-jet variant is scheduled to go operational for the Marines in mid-2015, while the F-35A conventional take-off and landing model will go operational for the Air Force in the fall of 2016.
The Navy's carrier variant F-35C is scheduled to go operational in 2018, with a more up-to-date software package.
In the meantime, the F-35 will conduct close-air support (CAS) operations with a mix of air-to-ground precision weapons, including the AMRAAM, JDAM and GBU-12. Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria, who commands the USAF Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and is developing tactics for the jet, told reporters in a December interview that the plane will rely much more on its precision guided munitions (PGMs) than the gun for close air support.
"I think, so far, it looks like the PGMs will be more useful in the CAS role," Silveria said, before noting "we have not really completed all of the operational testing on the CAS."
Scorpion I just read this same article, but you may want to edit this and write your own stuff. You can get the owner of this site in trouble with copyright laws and Google hates duplicates which can hurt this site in the Search Engines. It is a good article though.
F-35 Debut Hobbled by Flawed Software, Pentagon Tester Finds
Flawed software will hobble the first of Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)’s F-35 fighters to be called combat-ready, limiting the plane’s ability to drop bombs, share data with other aircraft and track enemy radar, the Defense Department’s chief weapons tester found.
The Marine Corps plans to declare its version of the F-35, the costliest U.S. weapons system, ready for limited combat as soon as July. Software essential to delivering on the plane’s promised capabilities may complete flight testing next month, about four months late.
“What is clear is that” the plane “will finish with deficiencies remaining that will affect operational units,” Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of combat testing, said in an annual report on major weapons that was sent to Congress on Friday and obtained before its public release.
The testing report will set the stage for oversight of the $398.6 billion F-35 program by U.S. lawmakers and by allies seeking to justify the increasing cost of buying the plane. The Pentagon plans to request 57 of the aircraft in fiscal 2016, up from the 34 that were requested and the 38 that Congress ultimately funded for this year.
Each of the Joint Strike Fighters made by Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed will have more than 8 million lines of code once fully deployed, more than any previous U.S. or allied jet.
“Serious deficiencies with hardware and software used to develop data files” in the plane’s computers are “more numerous and serious” than those first identified in 2012, Gilmore said in his cover letter to lawmakers transmitting the report. The files are needed to identify enemy radar and “are essential to conducting effective combat operations against advanced enemy air defenses, a key reason” for developing the F-35, he wrote.
Gilmore warned that unless “immediate action is taken to remedy these deficiencies,” the aircraft’s ability to “be effective in combat is at substantial risk.”
Deficiencies in the software version known as 2B also were “identified in fusion, radar, passive sensors, identification friend-or-foe” and electro-optical targeting, even as software showed some improvement in starting the aircraft and maintaining in-flight stability, according to his report.
Joe DellaVedova, the spokesman for the Pentagon’s F-35 office, said in an e-mail that he can’t comment on the report’s broad conclusions until it’s made public.
DellaVedova said the Joint Strike Fighter program continues to follow “the same disciplined approach with software development -- we test, and when we find an issue we solve it and move on. The F-35 will do what it was designed to do: defeat today’s and tomorrow’s threats.”
The Marine version, the F-35B, flew 329 test sorties last year, 20 more than planned, he said.
The F-35 program’s top official said in an e-mail that since October it’s completed all software testing required for the Marine version to drop its weapons. “The weapons development program continues to track forward on the plan laid out” in 2010, when additional testing was added, said Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, the program’s executive officer.
While the Air Force and Navy versions of the F-35 also are being developed, the Marine fighter is the most complex because it must execute short takeoffs and vertical landings on fields and amphibious warships.
Lockheed Martin spokesman Mark Johnson said in an e-mail that it would inappropriate to comment on the unreleased report, “but 2014 was year of great momentum for the JSF program on all fronts.” The F-35 represents 17 percent of sales for Lockheed, the largest U.S. federal contractor.
Lockheed rose less than 1 percent to $193.06 at 11:25 a.m. after rising 26 percent in the past year.
Gilmore’s report also cited signs of progress for the F-35, which is being developed as its produced, including improved reliability that lets pilots exceed the planned number of sorties.
The F-35B flew 7.5 hours last year between “critical failures,” an improvement over the three-hour mark demonstrated in 2013, he said. The goal is 12 hours.
The program office, the Marine Corps and Lockheed also appear to have fixed deficiencies with the aircraft’s auxiliary air inlet door, propulsion system drive shaft and clutch and a “roll post nozzle” actuator, he said.
DellaVedova said reliability has improved with each lot of aircraft because the company and the program office have incorporated corrective actions “to minimize or eliminate failures.”
Among the unresolved technical issues affecting the F-35B that Gilmore listed in the report and his cover letter to congressional defense committees:
* The aircraft’s weight when empty increased 82 pounds (37 kilograms) since August 2011 and now is within 1 percent, or 337 pounds, of its weight limit.
* A system of six implanted sensors made by Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) for 360-degree day and night navigation, in-flight awareness and anti-aircraft missile warnings “continues to exhibit high false alarm rates and false target tracks and poor stability performance, even in later versions.”
* Current versions of the program’s automated logistics system, which schedules aircraft maintenance, monitors in-flight aircraft condition and marshals spare parts, remains behind schedule and has deficiencies that render it “cumbersome to use and inefficient.”
Preliminary results from the latest version “show that multiple deficiencies from past evaluations remain unresolved and the system demonstrated deficiencies in new capabilities.”
Gilmore didn’t call such technical problems insurmountable, saying instead that developing and demonstrating fixes probably won’t be accomplished for months and could delay testing of the final version of software that gives the aircraft its full combat capability.
Successful testing of this “3F” version would be needed before the Pentagon makes a multibillion-dollar commitment for Lockheed to begin full-scale production, which now is scheduled for April 2019.
Gilmore recommended that the schedule be adjusted to “reflect these realities,” with the crucial software testing starting six months late and finishing in May 2019.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Capaccio in Washington at[email protected]
To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Walcott at [email protected]Larry Liebert