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F-35 update – don’t believe everything you read

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2013, 01:34
by spazsinbad
This blurb covers some ground so I thought best to have own thread. News to me about DSTO being involved in 'lightning' testing - but there you go.

F-35 update – don’t believe everything you read Kym Bergmann / Canberra

http://www.asiapacificdefencereporter.c ... g-you-read

"...The most extreme examples of stupidity come, of course, from sections of the UK tabloid media. On January 21 in true “ the Earth is about to collide with dark planet Nibiru” style, the Daily Mail – surprisingly not owned by Rupert Murdoch - declared:

New £150million combat jet is banned from flying in bad weather because it could EXPLODE

Apart from the complete absurdity regarding the price, the truth about this matter – along with many others - is far more prosaic, with a Lockheed Martin spokesperson explaining:

“The F-35 program has yet to formally test for lightning protection. We still have 4 years of Developmental Test ahead of us, before we actually begin formal Operational Testing. There is a plan in place for lightning testing to be completed in the future test plan, and for the jet to be appropriately equipped to fly in all weather. The plan is to conduct lightning test towards the end of the flight test program. Because the testing has not be completed to date, we therefore have a lightning restriction of 25 miles at present for flight operations – this is obviously the safe, and sensible way to do business and supported by all involved in the program.”

For any reader who might be thinking, “they would say that, wouldn’t they”, the view regarding lightning testing is also shared by the RAAF. And they are actually in a very good position to know, because as it turns out the Defence Science & Technology Organisation (DSTO) is intimately involved in this aspect of F-35 development....

...Meanwhile, the RAAF is continuing to plan for the arrival of F-35s in accordance with the Government’s delayed schedule. The first two aircraft are starting to come together and will be on Lockheed Martin’s assembly line at Fort Worth in 2014. After certification they will be flown to Luke Air Force Base, in sunny Arizona.

While the RAAF has not yet selected its first cadre of trainers, it has worked out its methodology. The first group to gain experience on the RAAF F-35s will be experienced F-18 pilots, who will go on to become instructors. Later groups will have a mix of experience levels to ensure that a ‘balanced’ squadron can be formed.
In this manner the RAAF is planning to standup the Initial Operation Capability (IOC) of its first squadron in 2020."

MUCH more at the jump including this Oz colloquialism contained in this sentence: "...Lockheed Martin’s infinitely patient retiring program manager Tom Burbage must have explained this a million times and that fact that he has never gone berserk with an axe during a media conference is a minor miracle...."

RE: F-35 update – don’t believe everything you read

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2013, 01:41
by firstimpulse
And we thought we'd heard it all...

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2013, 02:38
by popcorn
Having an axe handy to deal with repeat offenders... intriguing idea. :) enjoy your retirement TB.

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2013, 03:20
by XanderCrews
LOL how many people are going to be citing the "Daily Fail" for years now? APA going to run with it? I think I will go see Eric Palmers blog to see if he posted it yet!

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2013, 04:03
by southernphantom
:poke: :bang:
I'm not exactly sure how to respond to this one :? :?

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2013, 07:32
by neurotech
Tom Burbage was a Naval Aviator during Vietnam, from what I heard. I'm not sure he flew very much while at Lockheed, but its not like they don't have a few F-16s around for training and familiarization flights. Hopefully, he'll enjoy his retirement and play plenty of golf with the rest of the LM retirees.

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2013, 07:38
by spazsinbad
BurbageBio here:

Interview: Tom Burbage
Executive Vice President and General Manager, F-35 Program Integration, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
Chuck Oldham (Editor) July 15, 2011 ... m-burbage/

"Tom Burbage is the executive vice president and general manager, Joint Strike Fighter Program Integration. He is responsible for ensuring that all requirements are fulfilled for the F-35 U.S. and international customers and industrial partners around the world. He was the executive vice president and general manager, Joint Strike Fighter, from August 2000 until assuming his current assignment in November 2004.

Burbage joined Lockheed Martin (LM) in 1980 in the Business Development branch and later became manager of Business Development for U.S. Government Programs at the Lockheed California Company operations in Burbank, Calif. In December 1987, he was appointed vice president for Washington operations and coordinated the company’s relationships with the Department of Defense and the U.S. Congress, as well as the embassies of foreign governments.

He moved to Marietta, Ga., in 1990 as vice president for business development and product support at Aeronautical Systems. During his tenure, LM Aero launched several new initiatives including C-130J, C-27J, C-5 Modernization Programs. Burbage was named vice president and general manager for Navy Programs in 1994.

In 1995, he assumed the duties of vice president and general manager, F-22 and led the F-22 Program through first flight and initial flight test. In 1999, he was named president, LM Aeronautical Systems Company, Marietta, Ga., and led the restructuring of that company and consolidation into the newly formed LM Aero, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.

Burbage has received numerous industry awards, including the inaugural U.S. Naval Academy/Harvard Business Review 2007 Award for Ethical Leadership named after Adm. James B. Stockdale; the 2006 Society of Automotive Engineers Leadership in Aerospace Award; the Donald C. Burnham Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers; the Silver Knight Award from the National Management Association; three Aviation Week Laurel Awards; and the Aerospace Industry Personality of the Year for 2002, presented at the Singapore Air Show. He is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

From 1969 to 1980, Burbage served on active duty in the U.S. Navy. He completed the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School in 1975 and has accumulated more than 3,000 hours in 38 different types of military aircraft. On Oct. 31, 1994, he retired from the Navy reserves as a captain.

Burbage was born on Sept. 6, 1947, in San Diego, Calif. In 1969, he received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy. He also has a master’s degree in Aeronautical Systems from the University of West Florida and a master’s degree in business administration from UCLA. Burbage and his wife, Ellen, reside in Alpharetta, Ga.; they have three daughters and five grandsons. He took time recently to answer some questions posed by Air Power at Sea editor Chuck Oldham about the naval aviation centennial, the future of naval aviation, and the F-35 program."

More on this forum:

Interview: Tom Burbage [F-35 Bits] 15 July 2011 ... ham#201676

"...[F-35 BITS]
"...You have an MBA, a master’s in aeronautical science, and at Annapolis, you got a bachelor’s in aeronautical engineering. Between that and your service experience, do you think it gives you a different perspective on building aircraft for naval aviation?

I do. You know, I always wanted to fly. My father was a naval aviator and all the role models I had as a kid growing up were Navy pilots. My brother-in-law and son-in-law are Navy aviators. I always wanted to fly and that’s why I was an aeronautical engineer – really to just learn as much as I could about the science of flight. And then the test pilot school at Pax River [Md.] is really what I would consider the graduation course. It is a graduate school to a much higher degree than any MBA or master’s course at any university. It’s very high-level academic experience for a half-day and then you go out and you fly what you’ve learned in the classroom the other half of the day. It is truly an applied education. My experience there and my three years as a project pilot testing a variety of airplanes has given me a really good perspective that a lot of people don’t have. I read every pilot report every day on F-35 because that is where the real issues are. I feel like I can talk to pilots as well as engineers because of my background...."

MUCH MORE specific to F-35 on this internal forum link or alternatively go to the original URL to read the whole shebang.

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2013, 07:50
by spazsinbad
Some specifics about USN flying experience from same interview above URL:

"...Air Power at Sea: A Century of U.S. Naval Aviation: What was the state of naval aviation when you entered the fleet on your first cruise, and can you contrast that to what we see today?

Tom Burbage: When I look back in my career, I have a couple of entry points. My first Naval Academy midshipman cruise was on the USS Wasp [CV/CVA/CVS-18], one of the very old carriers that was retired before I graduated from school, and it had only propeller-driven airplanes on it. It was much, much smaller than the ships I later served on, and I did the cruise as a plane captain, so I was one of the guys that was on the flight deck, walking around all these propellers, chains on my shoulders, day and night. It was quite an eye-opener. That was my first cruise. But the cruise that was most significant was my first as a naval officer and an aviator, and that was on the USS Forrestal [CVA/CV-59] back in 1972. The Forrestal was one of the premier carriers at the time. It’s now a museum.

I flew E-2s and the state of the Navy at that point in time was one of great transition. They were moving from a dedicated set of small carriers [CVS] for anti-submarine warfare [ASW] to a larger, integrated carrier called a CV that had the total air group, the airborne early warning, and the fighters and attack guys and the surface and submarine attack communities.

It was a time of great cultural shift for the Navy. My own community was moving from a [piston-engine] airborne early warning airplane called the E-1 to the E-2, and I was in the first group of young pilots to fly the E-2. There were a couple of other new airplanes that were about to enter service in the fleet, including the F-14 and the S-3A.

It’s interesting that you talk about the transition from having basically two different classes of carriers and two different classes of air groups, because for a time there, I think probably from the ’60s into the ’90s, there were a whole lot of different types of aircraft on a carrier deck, and it seems like the air wing of today is getting necked down to fewer types of aircraft.

I think that’s exactly right. Back in those days, the airplanes were designed specifically for single missions. You had air superiority airplanes and fighters, in the F-4 and F-14, and the air-to-ground airplanes with the A-6 and the A-7. They would sometimes try to do both missions, but they were certainly designed to be better in one than the other. I think there was a realization that the cost of sustaining the operations of that many airplanes was becoming a huge cost burden to the fleet, and that’s why you’ve seen the neck-down in numbers and types of airplanes to a much smaller number.

On a more personal note, you’ve flown a lot of different aircraft. Which ones are the ones that have a special place in your heart and, which ones … not so much?
Well, for my first operational tour, I flew E-2s. I was in the first class of jet students to go to the E-2 community. Prior to that they were transitioning to E-2s with older, more experienced pilots that came out of the E-1 community. So, you had guys that had flown propeller-driven airplanes all their operational life suddenly moving to a much bigger turboprop airplane. A turboprop airplane like an E-2 flies the same kind of pattern as a jet does. It doesn’t fly the old propeller pattern where you take a cut and bring the engines to idle. Some of the older pilots were having difficulty getting the bigger airplane aboard ship, so they did an experiment and they took a number of us out of the jet training command and put us in the E-2s as nuggets. I didn’t even know what an E-2 was when I got orders to RVAW-120.

I went to the squadron and found the E-2 a challenging airplane to fly. Most of my flight time is in that airplane. It was very much teamwork-based as opposed to the airplanes that are single seat, and I really enjoyed flying the Hawkeye. I had three cruises in my first operational tour, two on the Forrestal and a short one on the America. So, I got lots of operational stick time and it was fun.

Then I went to the Navy Test Pilot School [TPS]. I was the first E-2 pilot to be accepted to TPS and I was very fortunate to be the test lead for the E-2 and C-2 and also be in the second group of flight testers for the S-3 Viking. I didn’t fly the S-3 operationally, but I was one of the early testers of it. I really loved flying that airplane. That’s actually how I got to know Lockheed, because some of that flying was done out at the Lockheed plant in Burbank. After that I went to the USS Eisenhower as the catapult and arresting gear officer and I flew the ship’s mail plane, the carrier onboard delivery [COD]. At that time every major ship had its own COD. The C-1 was derived from the S-2 and carried about seven or eight people. The C-1 had its own fun dimension. You opened the canopy over your head and the air was coming through the cockpit and, of course, there was no ejection seat. If you ever went in the water, you had to climb out the hatch. It was a much older airplane and really it was just to get mailbags and occasionally passengers back and forth to the ship.

In 1980, I left active duty, went to work for Lockheed Martin and joined the reserves. I had the great good fortune to wind up flying A-7s out of Point Mugu [Calif.] for about six years. All of the airplanes I’ve had the privilege to fly have their own unique qualities. I really loved flying the A-7. As they say, the social experience was superb, because there’s only one of you in the airplane. There is a special high to be a Navy reservist flying high performance jets in the Southern California ranges. Bottom line, I felt every airplane was special and I really enjoyed all of them. I don’t think I ever flew an airplane I didn’t enjoy flying...."

Those last few sentences are for GUMS! :D 'SoCal' Experiment indeed.

Wait... There's more...

"...What would you describe as your best day or your most memorable day while you were a serving naval aviator? What’s the strongest memory for you that made you think, “Hey, I picked the right career, this is what I was meant to do.”

That’s a really hard question. The first one that jumps out is the first day you solo … if you want to be an aviator, the first time the guy that’s in the airplane with you gets out is a big day. Because you’re on your own.

Probably second in the training part of this is the first day you go to the ship by yourself, actually get a trap. Those experiences all stand out, getting your wings and actually becoming part of the naval aviation community are really big days career-wise.

Probably the other one is my most memorable experience. I was the first catapult and arresting gear officer on the USS Eisenhower back in 1978. The ship was coming off of sea trials and I had a very green, very young crew of guys. Probably half of them had been given their choice of going to jail or going into the Navy – you know the story. We molded them into a first-class team that wound up winning the Battle E on their first cruise. We never lost a day without all catapults working. Every guy in the division got a medal from the admiral at the end of the cruise for their performance. I think looking back, that experience of leading that group, understanding that everybody is in the boat together, everyone has an important role to play and the team has to work or people can die.

Seeing these young guys pull together and doing some really creative things to build that team and then seeing them do what they’re out there to do, I think that was probably the most rewarding experience overall. It really had nothing to do with me flying.

This interview first appeared in Air Power at Sea: A Century of U.S. Naval Aviation."

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2013, 07:58
by munny
Oh it gets better than the article mentioned in the OP. Go over to RT (go for the bad reporting, stay to read the lunatics in the comments section) and they say that there is a "Design Flaw" that WILL make it explode if it encounters lightning. They've even attributed the reason to an unrelated issue.

It’s the world’s most expensive combat aircraft, but don’t expect it to fly in bad weather: The $237-million F-35B has been banned from traveling within 25 miles of a thunderstorm, amid fears that lightning could cause its fuel tank to explode.
The aircraft, which is ironically known as 'Lightning II,' is not permitted to fly in thunderstorms until an oxygen gauge in the fuel tank is redesigned.
The findings were disclosed in the Pentagon’s 2012 Annual Operational Test and Evaluation report, which examined 327 defense programs slated for full production.
The announcement is a major setback for the combat plane, which is set for use in the US Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. The planes are also scheduled to fly with Britain’s Royal Navy and Royal Air Force by 2018.
Other fears besides a lightning-induced explosion have left engineers worried. A design fault in the fuel tank prevents the jet from rapidly descending to low altitudes. The Pentagon report described both flaws as “unacceptable for combat or combat training.”
The F-35B's problems don’t stop there: Attempts to increase the aircraft’s fuel efficiency by reducing its weight have made it more vulnerable to enemy attack – even more so than the aircraft it’s designed to replace, the Telegraph reported.
Examinations by the US Air Force and manufacturer Lockheed Martin also discovered possible widespread cracking on the right wing and right engine of the F-35A, and on an area of the F-35B. “All of these discoveries will require mitigation plans and may include redesigning parts and additional weight,” the report said.
The aircraft’s supposedly state-of-the-art visor had its own issues last June. The visor is designed to provide pilots with up-to-the-second information about the jet’s every move, but actually provided incorrect data.
Critics have dubbed the F-35B a disaster since its inception in the 1990s, when it became the most expensive equipment project ever undertaken by the Pentagon. The total cost of buying, operating and maintaining the planes over the next 30 years is estimated at around $1.5 trillion.
That high price tag has given several countries cold feet about the jet. Last week, Canada pulled out of a deal to buy 65 F-35s over fears that the aircraft could be too expensive to run. Italy reduced its purchase to 90 F-35s from an initial 131, and even the US has delayed some of its purchases.
But despite the flaws in the F-35B’s fuel tank, the aircraft’s makers remain optimistic.

Needless to say the hordes of anti-USA, extremist nutcases who visit the site almost messed their pants over the story.