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F-35 Program - General Discussion

This is a discussion on F-35 Program - General Discussion within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; How the X-35 morphed into the F-35.. Code One Magazine: X to F: F-35 Lightning II And Its X-35 Predecessors...


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Old August 1st, 2013   #76
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How the X-35 morphed into the F-35..

Code One Magazine: X to F: F-35 Lightning II And Its X-35 Predecessors
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Old August 1st, 2013   #77
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Isn't the aircraft in the older photos the X-35, rather than F-35? If you take a look at the YF-22 as opposed to the F-22A you'll see certain differences too. I think it's just a matter of tuning the design as development progresses.
It's interesting seeing the two designs (YF-22/F-22) next to each other, you can see all the little tweaks about the wing tips and the like. Presumably to enhance VLO characteristics.

One thing about the X-35/F-35 thing though is the fan door, on the X-35 it's a two piece that opens along the centre of the aircraft, on the F-35 it's hinged at the rear. I'd like to know what caused such a design change to occur.

EDIT: Just read colay's link

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The X-35 canopy was a two-piece, side-opening design with a conventional bow frame. The F-35 is a one-piece, forward-opening design with an integrated bow frame. The change improves signature characteristics while maintaining low weight. The bow frame was moved back slightly to improve visibility.
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Old August 2nd, 2013   #78
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The main thing that changed from X-35 to F-35 is the addition of the weapons bays.

The X-35 did not have a weapons bay since it was just a Tech/Concept Demonstrator and not a traditional Prototype.
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Old August 2nd, 2013   #79
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AFAIK wasn't the space where the weapons bay would be used for the gubbins for the landing gear?
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Old August 2nd, 2013   #80
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Is it just me or does the F-35 look nothing like what it did originally? Did it undergo a redesign at some point?
The F-22 underwent a similar change from going from YF-22 to F-22

http://www.fighter-planes.com/f22vsf22y.jpg

For the F-35 conformal blisters for sensors and comms gear has been added that wasn't present on the X-35 and there have been other add ons to the eventual service plane the demonstrator didn't need.
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Old August 13th, 2013   #81
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Seems old Goony got something wrong yet again. Who'd a thunk?

Wing-drop isn't an issue for the F-35. Flight control software fixes have done the trick as L-M and the Program said they would...

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"PENTAGON: The F-35?s highly-touted system designed to monitor and predict maintenance needs known as ALIS (pronounced alice) faces “really challenging issues” in the military’s biggest conventional arms program ever.

The Autonomic Logistics Information System is not really capable of sharing data from the airplane yet — as is the goal — and must see the hardware required to download and service the plane made smaller and the software be made both more useful and more secure, an authoritative source here told us. The Marines are most closely watching the size of the hardware since they have the earliest Initial Operating Capability in July 2015 and require the ability to service the plane in the most remote locations.

A key goal of the ALIS system is to allow F-35s to share data with the ship or base they are flying back to so crews can have parts and tools ready to fix the plane as quickly and as close to combat as possible. That requires a wireless modem, something that drone programs are keenly aware can be highly vulnerable to hacking.

I asked Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle about this in a Friday interview and his cautious answer made clear just how closely the Marines are watching this.

“I think conceptually it makes a lot of sense, but we have to be very mindful of someone wanting to do nefarious things inside the networks,” Schmidle said. He and our other authoritative source said shrinking the hardware for ALIS shouldn’t be too hard. But ensuring the security of the network and providing robust and useful software will be a serious challenge.

On the other hand, wing drop is no longer a performance issue for the F-35, contrary to claims in some quarters, our authoritative source at the Pentagon tells us. The issue is, as almost always, much more complex than that simple statement indicates, but it’s been 18 months since the issue surfaced and software fixes leave the Joint Strike Fighter in fine shape, this source says.

What happened? Basically, new algorithmns were written, tested in the trans-sonic envelope where most of the problems occurred and the services found a solution that didn’t completely eliminate all drop at all times but left the plane performing to the highest standards achievable. In short, they found a problem and fixed it to a standard all three services could live with."
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Don’t Ask ALIS, Yet; F-35 Wing Drop Issue Fixed « Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
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Old August 21st, 2013   #82
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F-35 Support Costs Fall 22%, Pentagon Manager Estimates

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A fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)’s F-35 fighters will cost $857 billion over 55 years to operate and support, 22 percent less than previously estimated, according to the head of the Pentagon office developing the plane.

The new estimate reflects the aircraft’s performance in 5,000 test flights over 7,000 hours, Air Force Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan, the Defense Department’s program manager for the F-35, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in written answers last month that haven’t been made public until now.

“The previous cost estimate did not factor in this new knowledge,” Bogdan said.

Operating costs include expenses from spare parts to repairs and fuel. Officially, the Pentagon’s estimate remains $1.1 trillion, a two-year-old projection developed by the Pentagon’s independent cost-assessment office.
F-35 Support Costs Fall 22%, Pentagon Manager Estimates - Bloomberg
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Old August 23rd, 2013   #83
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More news of another F-35 cost reduction.

Lockheed eyes 40 percent savings on next F-35 logistics contract | Reuters

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(Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) said it is close to an agreement with the Pentagon for a more portable and 40 percent cheaper version of the operations and logistics system that controls the F-35 fighter, the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program.
More at the jump.
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Old September 22nd, 2013   #84
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Hello everyone, First time poster here.

Reading through this thread has been great, I've seen a ton of false information refuted about the F-35 and I was hoping you guys could maybe help clarify some things here.

I don't know if you are aware of this article here;

I cant post links yet but google: (flightglobal Pentagon lowers F-35 performance bar)

How serious is this really in the grand scheme of things pertaining to the F-35?
I have recently seen people throw around claims that the F-35 is less maneuverable the the old F-4 Phantoms, and they always seem to site that link above as proof to their claims. How can I refute this?

to summarize, I am new to the whole aviation world and have run into some fishy claims that I don't have the knowledge to disprove. Any information would be appreciated.
Thanks
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Old September 22nd, 2013   #85
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Originally Posted by Night_Owl View Post
Hello everyone, First time poster here.

Reading through this thread has been great, I've seen a ton of false information refuted about the F-35 and I was hoping you guys could maybe help clarify some things here.

I don't know if you are aware of this article here;

I cant post links yet but google: (flightglobal Pentagon lowers F-35 performance bar)

How serious is this really in the grand scheme of things pertaining to the F-35?
I have recently seen people throw around claims that the F-35 is less maneuverable the the old F-4 Phantoms, and they always seem to site that link above as proof to their claims. How can I refute this?

to summarize, I am new to the whole aviation world and have run into some fishy claims that I don't have the knowledge to disprove. Any information would be appreciated.
Thanks
Everything you could possibly want to know about this subject can be found discussed by someone who DOES know what he is talking about can be found here:

Elements Of Power: The F-35 and the Infamous “Sustained G” Spec Change

The "F-35 is not better than an F-4" (nevermind that F-4's themselves vary widely in maneuvre performance) argument is made by those who have very little clue of these matters and are not "apples to apples" comparisons.

Furthermore the alleged performance of virtually all aircraft is highly compromised by external stores through increased drag and fuel burn.

Except aircraft like the F-35 which has little to no need to carry external stores...
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Old September 23rd, 2013   #86
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An interesting article from a F-35 test pilot and early instructor.

The Making of a Joint Strike Fighter Pilot | Military Aviation | Air & Space Magazine
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Old September 23rd, 2013   #87
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Excellent link that explains this G-force issue.
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Old October 15th, 2013   #88
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Originally Posted by ADMk2 View Post
Everything you could possibly want to know about this subject can be found discussed by someone who DOES know what he is talking about can be found here:

Elements Of Power: The F-35 and the Infamous “Sustained G” Spec Change

The "F-35 is not better than an F-4" (nevermind that F-4's themselves vary widely in maneuvre performance) argument is made by those who have very little clue of these matters and are not "apples to apples" comparisons.

Furthermore the alleged performance of virtually all aircraft is highly compromised by external stores through increased drag and fuel burn.

Except aircraft like the F-35 which has little to no need to carry external stores...
10/15/13 Todays AFM reports that the Development of the BAE aerospace Alternate Helmet has been cancelled and defunded, indicating full confidence in the Rockwell Collins-Elbit Systems primary helmet, this came as a bit of a shock to BAE as Christopher Bogdan, Program Manager, had stated just several weeks ago, that both helmets would continue to be developed..the 45 million allocated will be rolled back into the program..
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Old October 25th, 2013   #89
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Gentlemen, please find below, my attempt to construct a production time-line with known costs to update point #7 of the Air Power 101 thread. I am aware that the effort below may contain inaccurate or incomplete information due to gaps in my knowledge. I would greatly appreciate sourced comments to correct/modify the initial data gathered below:-

"(2) ...The way JSF was conceived, development, testing and low-rate initial production (LRIP) all take place concurrently. LRIP Lot-5 low-rate initial production — ran about US$4.2 billion for 30 aircraft. Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher C. Bogdan, program executive officer of the Joint Strike Fighter said LRIP Lot-5 was 4 percent less expensive than LRIP Lot-4, and he would like to see that trend continue into future orders. According to October 2013 data from Lockheed Martin, below is a table of JSF aircraft production from LRIP Lots 1 to 8:-
(i) LRIP Lot 1 (block 0.5) is for 2 aircraft in 2009:
• 2 F-35A for the USAF
(ii) LRIP Lot 2 (block 1A) is for 12 aircraft in 2011:
• 6 F-35A for the USAF • 6 F-35B for the USMC
(iii) LRIP Lot 3 (block 1B) is for 17 aircraft in FY2012 (from October 2011 to September 2012):
• 7 F-35A for the USAF • 7 F-35B for the USMC • 3 international fighters (1 F-35A for Netherlands and 2 F-35B for UK)
(iv) LRIP Lot 4 (block 2A) is for 32 aircraft in FY2013 (from October 2012 to September 2013):
• 10 F-35A for the USAF • 16 F-35B for the USMC • 4 F-35C for the USN • 2 international fighters (1 F-35A for Netherlands and 1 F-35B for UK)
(v) LRIP Lot 5 (block 2A) is for 32 aircraft in FY2014 (from October 2013 to September 2014):
• 22 F-35A for the USAF • 3 F-35B for the USMC • 7 F-35C for the USN
(vi) LRIP Lot 6 (block 2B) is for 36 aircraft in FY2015 (from October 2014 to September 2015):
•18 F-35A for USAF • 6 F-35B for the USMC • 7 F-35Cs for the USN • five international fighters (two F-35As for Australia and three F-35As for Italy)
(vii) LRIP Lot-7 (block 3i) is for 35 aircraft in FY2016 (from October 2015 to September 2016):
• 19 F-35As for the USAF • 6 F-35Bs for the USMC • 4 F-35Cs for the USN; • six international fighters (three F-35As for Italy, two F-35As for Norway; and a F-35B for UK)
(viii) LRIP Lot-8 (block 3F) is for 45 aircraft in FY2017 (from October 2016 to September 2017):
• 19 F-35As for the USAF • 6 F-35Bs for the USMC • 4 F-35Cs for the USN • 16 international fighters (four F-35Bs for the UK, two F-35As for Norway, four F-35As for Italy, four F-35As for Japan and two F-35As for Israel)
(3) The price of the JSF, without engines, under LRIP Lot 7 (with LRIP Lot 6 prices in green and in brackets) is US$98 million (US$103 million) for the F-35A, US$104 million (US$109 million) for the F-35B, and US$116 million (US$120 million) for the F-35C. The price of the Pratt & Whitney engines are approximately US$$16 million for the conventional versions and US$38 million for the STOVL version (as at LRIP Lot 3 prices and reported by Aviation Week). It was reported in October 2013, that in LRIP Lot 6 (to deliver 38 engines) when compared to LRIP Lot 5, there was a 2.5% unit price reduction for the engines of the F-35As and F-35Cs, while there was a 9.6% unit price reduction for the engines for the F-35C. Full rate production is expected to be hit in FY2021 at a rate of 170 to 175 aircraft per year (see page 9 of this presentation for details). Specifically:-
(i) the LRIP Lot-9 plan is for between 90 to 94 aircraft in FY2018: 45 F-35As for the USAF; 13 F-35Bs for the USMC; 6 F-35Cs for the USN; and between 26 to 30 international fighters (six F-35Bs for the UK, six F-35As for Norway, two F-35As for Japan, eight F-35As for Israel, three F-35As and one F-35B for Italy and possibly up to four F-35As for Turkey);

(ii) the LRIP Lot-10 plan is projected to be around 115 to 120 aircraft in FY2019; and

(vi) the LRIP Lot-11 plan is projected to be around 120 to 125 aircraft in FY2020 (which is expected to be the last LRIP Lot)."
Note: Data modified following John's comments below.
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Last edited by OPSSG; October 29th, 2013 at 11:08 PM.
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Old October 25th, 2013   #90
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Couple of questions, I know that the first two Australian aircraft currently in production are reported as being built in Lot 6, but I'm wondering if the order for next 12 aircraft does go ahead as planned next year (2014), what Lot (or Lots) are those 12 aircraft likely to be produced in?

I noticed in your list above that there are no Australian aircraft listed in Lots 7, 8 and 9 for international customers, does that mean those 12 aircraft will have to be in Lot 10 and beyond or is there the potential, if they are indeed ordered next year, that they could be added to one of those earlier Lots?

Yes it is no doubt hard to say which Lot an aircraft is to be built in till it is actually ordered, but I assume that LM would potentially have slots allocated assuming the order for the next 12 does go ahead next year.

Obviously there is a cut off point were a Lot is locked in and pricing for that Lot is produced based on the number of aircraft in that Lot and the production capacity, as there has been for Lots 6 and 7, but just wondering how much flexibility and lead time there is for, say Lot 8 and beyond where no prices have been negotiated or set as yet.
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