JSF Stealth Coat Cost (for 65 YEARS?!) Phew.....

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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spazsinbad

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Unread post17 May 2010, 21:28

New Stealth Concept Could Affect JSF Cost May 17, 2010 By Amy Butler

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/ ... JSF%20Cost

"FORT WORTH — As the debate rages about Joint Strike Fighter life-cycle cost, Lockheed Martin officials are raising a previously unheard point to bolster their low-price claims — a new low-observability (LO) substance called fiber mat.

Lockheed officials avoided the need to use stealthy appliqués and coatings by curing the substance into the composite skin of the aircraft, according to Tom Burbage, executive vice president of F-35 program integration for the company. It “makes this airplane extremely rugged. You literally have to damage the airplane to reduce the signature,” he said in an interview with AVIATION WEEK. This top-fiber mat surface takes the place of metallic paint that was used on earlier stealthy aircraft designs.

The composite skin of the F-35 actually contains this layer of fiber mat, and it can help carry structural loads in the aircraft, Burbage adds. The F-35 is about 42% composite by weight, Burbage says, compared to the F-22 at 22% and the F-16 at 2%.

Lockheed Martin declined to provide further details on fiber mat because they are classified. But the disclosure of this new substance comes at a time when Lockheed Martin officials are arguing that maintenance costs for the F-35 will be lower than anticipated by operators.

Officials at the Pentagon are required to complete their life-cycle cost estimates for the Joint Strike Fighter by the end of the month to certify that the $328-billion program can move forward despite a major cost spike. However, this has been an issue of controversy. A U.S. Naval Air Systems Command study recently stated that 65 years of sustainment for the single-engine stealthy fighter could cost about $442 billion (in Fiscal 2002 dollars) more than planned.

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said in an interview this week with AVIATION WEEK that he feels maintenance numbers for the conventional takeoff and landing version are “manageable,” but he did not provide a number. A sustainment cost for all three variants is needed to proceed with Nunn-McCurdy certification after the 57% cost overrun.

Amid this debate, Lockheed Martin continues to claim that sustainment costs for F-35 will actually be lower than its predecessors. But the company’s argument faces the same challenge as its assertion that the Pentagon Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office’s development and production estimates are inflated. Fundamentally, company officials say, Pentagon estimates on both points rely too much on data from legacy aircraft.

Schwartz, who represents the service that will eventually operate the preponderance of the Pentagon’s F-35 fleet, appears unsympathetic to Lockheed’s complaints about the estimates. “This is a show-me situation for the government, the program office and the contractor,” he says. “Notwithstanding what they think of the estimate, that is what we budgeted to. If they want to sell more airplanes, there is a clear path ahead.”

Vaguely I recall this product being referred to as a 'plastic' finish in earlier reports when being discussed re the USN/USMC version (at sea).
Last edited by spazsinbad on 18 May 2010, 09:00, edited 1 time in total.
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ATFS_Crash

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Unread post17 May 2010, 22:27

That seems trivial considering that the Obama regime now has the national debt at an estimated $12 trillion. Bush was a tight wad compared to Obama. Regretfully the Obama regime seems to want to cut the military, while spending and borrowing like there is no tomorrow on things that are counterproductive and snobbish.

Our military is important, we need to keep it strong. We need to stop spending so much on all this other garbage.

http://www.usdebtclock.org/
How many F-22s and JSFs could have been bought with $700 billion? Correct that.

Make that $1.7 Trillion.
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stereospace

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Unread post17 May 2010, 23:00

ATFS_Crash wrote:http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Wow, that's frightening. Much scarier than an Su-35.
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Unread post17 May 2010, 23:15

spazsinbad wrote:A U.S. Naval Air Systems Command study recently stated that 65 years of sustainment for the single-engine stealthy fighter could cost about $442 billion (in Fiscal 2002 dollars) more than planned.


Who would even attempt to embark on an economic prediction that takes you out 65 years? And for what purpose? That is equivalent to buying an aircraft in in 1945 and calculating total ownership costs out to 2010!!

My first guess is this a DoD bargaining tool for the upcoming buys, "We think it's going to cost more to maintain than you claim, therefore we want a lower price." Might work.

On the other hand, if the US is still flying F-35s 65 years from now, either the world had transformed into a peaceful Nirvana or we will have become a third world country flying absurdly out of date aircraft because that's all we can afford. Based on the US debt clock above, I suspect the second choice is more likely.
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Unread post17 May 2010, 23:23

ATFS_Crash wrote:That seems trivial considering that the Obama regime now has the national debt at an estimated $12 trillion. Bush was a tight wad compared to Obama. Regretfully the Obama regime seems to want to cut the military, while spending and borrowing like there is no tomorrow on things that are counterproductive and snobbish.

Our military is important, we need to keep it strong. We need to stop spending so much on all this other garbage.

http://www.usdebtclock.org/


Okay, what? This has nothing to do with that, or at least nothing more than anything else discussed on this forum. Stuff costs money.

I also tried to look up the accuracy of that website, but nothing either way showed up that I could find. Believe what you will.
--------------

On-topic:
Remember, NAVAIR is looking at the total sustainment cost for 1,600 jets, not stealth coatings for one airplane. So gas, spare parts, attrition... it adds up. That's why controversy over purchase cost is so dumb so much of the time. I'm surprised they went to 65 years though.

Who knows what metrics NAVAIR is using, either. If they're based on legacy aircraft some things are going to be obviously different. The Autonomic Logistics system alone is going to make some heads explode. It's sort of like comparing F-86 maintenance to P-51 maintenance- it's just not the same. Plus, they're Navy. What wouldn't they do to get more Super Hornets?

The fiber met concept itself seems pretty promising... I mean, even F-16's have RAM coatings (Have Glass) that have to be reapplied. Skipping a lot of the coating process and expensive coatings themselves probably will make it waaaay cheaper than the F-22. Freaking silver lined- literally.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/1555001/US-Ai ... D070112059
(Page 7)

I'm sure the F-35 will have other maintenance-specific features, we just haven't heard about them yet because they don't make for great press releases and the critics are gnawing on purchase cost and ZOMGwingloadtwratio!!!1
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ATFS_Crash

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Unread post18 May 2010, 02:41

Prinz_Eugn wrote:Okay, what? This has nothing to do with that, or at least nothing more than anything else discussed on this forum. Stuff costs money.

Costs, debt and spending are related; that's something that you and the Obama regime need to learn.

The military is fighting over crumbs, meanwhile politicians are weakening our military by neglecting funds to it; while they divert funds and massively increased funds on entitlements and they are using this strategy to divert power/control and money to the government and it is fundamentally weakening the engine of capitalism that drives our country and the military engine that protects our country. The Obama regime is living in opulence while many people in the military are living in poverty and using outdated equipment.

I'm afraid the US and much of the world has a grim economic future and we probably ought to best build fighters while we still can; our economic situation may become so bad that we may be stuck with the same aircraft for decades and development and manufacture may grind to a near standstill.

The more money we waste using taxpayer money to buy sexual predators Viagra; the less money that is available to the military. The more money we spend building bridges to know where; the less money that's available to the military. Basically the more money that the politicians waste; the less they are going to want to spend on the military.
How many F-22s and JSFs could have been bought with $700 billion? Correct that.

Make that $1.7 Trillion.
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Prinz_Eugn

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Unread post18 May 2010, 04:26

ATFS_Crash wrote:
Prinz_Eugn wrote:Okay, what? This has nothing to do with that, or at least nothing more than anything else discussed on this forum. Stuff costs money.

Costs, debt and spending are related; that's something that you and the Obama regime need to learn.


Yeah, lumping us together really solidifies your point... What I was getting at is almost everything on this forum involves spending ("Stuff costs money," and airplanes are "stuff"), so your post was no more relevant to this thread than any other.

I know you feel strongly about your political beliefs, but could you leave them in another forum?
"A visitor from Mars could easily pick out the civilized nations. They have the best implements of war."
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popcorn

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Unread post18 May 2010, 05:41

Concerns about the durability and maintainability of stealth coatings has been a major concern so this revelation is very welcome news. We know (so far) that mechanically the F-35s being flight tested are performing surprisingly well and now this bit of good news. I wonder if they've developed a similar coating that can stand up to sea water exposure?
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post18 May 2010, 06:49

I thought by the wording they were trying to say this new technique avoids some of the costs pinpointed by the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command study.
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Unread post18 May 2010, 07:33

Prinz_Eugn wrote:
ATFS_Crash wrote:
Prinz_Eugn wrote:Okay, what? This has nothing to do with that, or at least nothing more than anything else discussed on this forum. Stuff costs money.

Costs, debt and spending are related; that's something that you and the Obama regime need to learn.


Yeah, lumping us together really solidifies your point... What I was getting at is almost everything on this forum involves spending ("Stuff costs money," and airplanes are "stuff"), so your post was no more relevant to this thread than any other.

I know you feel strongly about your political beliefs, but could you leave them in another forum?


I second Prinz's sentiments. Could the mods please tell this ATFS fellow to pipe down with his politics on this site, purty please, with sugar on top?
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Unread post18 May 2010, 07:59

URL for this LM press release from mid 2009 (I think):

http://www.f-35.mil/news/documents/2008 ... ARRIER.rtf

"The F-35 achieves its Very Low Observable stealth performance through its fundamental design, its external shape and its manufacturing processes, which control tolerances to less than half the diameter of a human hair. Special coatings are added to further reduce radar signature.

The package is designed to remain stealthy in severe combat conditions, and tests have validated that capability. After obtaining baseline radar cross section (RCS) measurements from a highly detailed, full-scale Signature Measurement Aircraft (SigMA), a team of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman engineers intentionally inflicted extensive damage – more than three dozen significant defects – on the model. The damage represented the cumulative effect of more than 600 flight hours of military aircraft operations. RCS measurements taken after the damage showed that the stealthy signature remained intact.

“Even operating in harsh carrier-deck conditions, the F-35C will require no special care or feeding. In fact, its stealth adds very little to the day-to-day maintenance equation,” O’Bryan said. “We’ve come a long way from the early stealth airplanes, which needed hours or even days of attention and repair after every flight. The F-35 not only avoids that intensive level of upkeep, it will require significantly less maintenance than the nonstealth fighters it is designed to replace.”
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Some good stuff about stealth making processes here: http://openpdf.com/viewer?url=http://ww ... 59.ch8.pdf

http://evangelidis.gr/embry/F35LO-ShortReport-HTML.htm

"Materials
On the F-35 several special materials are used, including Radar Absorbing Materials (RAM), Radar Absorbing Structure and Infrared (IR) Topcoat. Unlike the F-117, which was totally coated with 2,000 pounds of RAM, these materials are more selectively used on the F-35. Lockheed Martin developed paint-type RAM which is applied around the edges of doors and control surfaces. RAS is used on the body, wing and tail edges. For the application of this paint robots will be used, like the CASPER (Computer Aided Spray Paint Expelling Robot) system used for F-22 and the Have Glass II program used for painting 1,700 F-16s with RAM. Robots are essential because they can reach confined areas, as the inlet ducts, and can work without stepping on the aircraft.

These materials comprise ferromagnetic particles, embedded in a high-dielectric-constant polymer base. The dielectric material slows down the wave and the ferromagnetic particles absorb the energy. These coatings are also designed in a way that the small reflection from the front face of the absorber is cancelled by a residual reflection from the structure beneath it. This is not an easy procedure, and it makes RAM design much more tricky than most people believe.

F-35’s entire airframe is also painted with a camouflage topcoat that suppresses IR."
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http://www.theengineer.co.uk/in-depth/t ... 33.article

"The secret is a laser alignment technique controlled directly from digital data held on computers networked between the UK and US. Reference points on the factory jigs are controlled by a system of tiny mirrors that the 'intelligent laser head' tracks to ensure every part is identical to sub-millimetre levels. Though the exact accuracy is classified, the improvement is understood to be 'an order of magnitude' greater than that on Eurofighter.

Large 'knitting machines' put together the layers of composite materials, carbon fibres and resin into complex 3D shapes (for example air inlets) that otherwise would have to be hand formed. The digital manufacturing suite is completed by a drilling machine that again is integrated with design data, saving days of manual work. These automated processes will speed up manufacturing while needing perhaps 10-20 per cent fewer operators on the shop floor.

Cronshaw estimates that the £40m facility being built at Samlesbury (commissioning is scheduled for late-2003) will be able to make 20 titanium, aluminium and composite rear fuselages per month compared to around four for older fighters. These will be shipped to the US and stuck straight on to the aircraft bodies.

As well as saving costs, precision production has numerous operational advantages. For example, low-observable aircraft like the B-2 stealth bomber have historically been vulnerable to the elements, so it requires constant 'fixing and blending' of the surface to keep its low-observability characteristics. A tiny blemish could make the B-2 almost as obvious to radar as any other aircraft.

Not only is F-35 designed to operate 'without the bubble wrap', says Evans, but the precision manufacturing technique means that when panels are damaged they can be whipped off and replaced exactly with no need for time-consuming taping or welding. 'The accuracies built into F-35 from the start are a major plus point,' adds Cronshaw."
___________________________

Good PDF story about making 'stealth' aircraft: http://www.navy.mi.th/nrdo/jane/dev_w/p ... July48.pdf (1Mb)
&
http://deepbluehorizon.blogspot.com/201 ... -game.html

"FORT WORTH — As the debate rages about Joint Strike Fighter life-cycle cost, Lockheed Martin officials are raising a previously unheard point to bolster their low-price claims — a new low-observability (LO) substance called fiber mat.

Lockheed officials avoided the need to use stealthy appliqués and coatings by curing the substance into the composite skin of the aircraft, according to Tom Burbage, executive vice president of F-35 program integration for the company. It “makes this airplane extremely rugged. You literally have to damage the airplane to reduce the signature,” he said in an interview with AVIATION WEEK. This top-fiber mat surface takes the place of metallic paint that was used on earlier stealthy aircraft designs.

The composite skin of the F-35 actually contains this layer of fiber mat, and it can help carry structural loads in the aircraft, Burbage adds. The F-35 is about 42% composite by weight, Burbage says, compared to the F-22 at 22% and the F-16 at 2%.

Lockheed Martin declined to provide further details on fiber mat because they are classified. But the disclosure of this new substance comes at a time when Lockheed Martin officials are arguing that maintenance costs for the F-35 will be lower than anticipated by operators."

GOOD FOR THE PIC: (repeated bleow) http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_MpnA9si4GMs/S ... static.jpg
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Last edited by spazsinbad on 18 May 2010, 08:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post18 May 2010, 08:14

Impressive..... :notworthy:
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Unread post18 May 2010, 09:32

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Unread post18 May 2010, 11:31

spazsinbad wrote:New Stealth Concept Could Affect JSF Cost May 17, 2010 By Amy Butler

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/ ... JSF%20Cost

"Lockheed officials avoided the need to use stealthy appliqués and coatings by curing the substance into the composite skin of the aircraft, according to Tom Burbage, executive vice president of F-35 program integration for the company. It “makes this airplane extremely rugged. "You literally have to damage the airplane to reduce the signature,” he said in an interview with AVIATION WEEK.


:shock:

So new LO technology consists in banging the aircraft to reduce RCS????
Thats new and innovating!
:lmao:

Bill Sweetman please return your forgiven! :D
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Unread post18 May 2010, 12:29

I don't know about the rest of you but this is the first I've read about fiber mat.. apparently LMA felt that disclosing this information would help it justify its position in a lower maintenance burden for the jet. I find it funny that the Pentagon's own bean counters didn't seem to be aware of this and factor it into their maintenance computations w/c was what LMA wanted to remedy by its disclosure.

Its a marked advance over the stealth coatings for previous aircraft w/c required finicky care and were manhour intensive to care for. Presumably fiber mat has been around for a decade or more since the program began and I think its safe to assume that the next gen of stealthy materials are probably going to be even more robust and effective and are probably well along in their development cycle.. if they aren't already available now.
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