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Re: 6 F-35s land on Wasp for testing

Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2015, 21:05
by spazsinbad
Lockheed F-35’s Reliability Found Wanting in Shipboard Testing
29 Jul 2015 Anthony Capaccio

"The Marine Corps’ version of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 fighter demonstrated poor reliability in a 12-day exercise at sea, according to the U.S. military’s top testing officer.

Six F-35Bs, the most complex version of the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system, were available for flights only half of the time needed, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational testing, said in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. A Marine Corps spokesman said the readiness rate was more than 65 percent.

While the exercise on the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp resulted in useful training for Marines and Navy personnel, Gilmore wrote in the assessment dated July 22, it also documented that “shipboard reliability” and maintenance “were likely to present significant near-term challenges.”

In the assessment submitted to Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, Gilmore said “Marine maintainers had rapid, ready access to spare parts from shore” and “received significant assistance” from Lockheed and subcontractor personnel.

Even with these advantages, “aircraft reliability was poor enough that it was difficult for the Marines to keep more than two or three of the six embarked jets in a flyable status on any given day,” he wrote.

The challenges to keeping the aircraft flying “will be substantially tougher when the aircraft first deploys” on an operational mission under more trying conditions, he said....

...Major Paul Greenberg, a Marine Corps spokesman, offered the estimate of 65 percent reliability and said Gilmore’s “review and assessment was done with our full cooperation.”

“Although some the report is factually accurate, the Marine Corps does not agree with all of the conclusions and opinions,” Greenberg said in an e-mail. “In some instances, the report contains statements that do not provide proper context or qualifying information, possibly leading readers to form inaccurate conclusions.”...

...Four of those aircraft were on the Wasp. One had “multiple maintenance issues” that kept it from flying for consecutive days from May 19 through May 23, according to Gilmore’s report. The exercise also was hampered by flaws with the aircraft’s fuel systems, which experienced two major component failures, he said.

Readiness Rate
Gilmore said a readiness rate of 80 percent would be needed to support a six-aircraft unit for combat operations. Lieutenant General Jon Davis, the head of Marine Corps aviation, told reporters on Monday that the service wants to achieve that rate eventually, but doing so depends on how much funding is provided for spare parts.

The Wasp exercise demonstrated that production model aircraft could be operated and supported off an amphibious warship, he said.

Ten U.S. Marine Corps pilots received F-35B aircraft carrier qualifications and flew 11 night missions in addition to flying more than 76 hours and executing 106 sorties, Greenberg said. The sorties included 100 short takeoffs and vertical landings."

Source: ... rd-testing

Re: 6 F-35s land on Wasp for testing

Unread postPosted: 01 Feb 2016, 18:38
by spazsinbad
There is a lot of material in the 2015 DOT&E report on this period of testing. I'll get around to excerpts from it eventually (there are many pages to read/digest in the full F-35 part - some 48 pages of dense acronyms). ANYway.... THERMION....
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
Jan 2016 DOT&E

"...The Navy applied a high-temperature coating called Thermion to the flight deck spots where F-35B aircraft will land, in lieu of the traditional “non-skid” coating, to withstand the F-35B’s exhaust, which is hotter than the AV-8B. One week into flight operations, personnel noted several chips of the first of two layers of Thermion were missing along a weld seam and started monitoring the site after each landing. [Commented upon in reports with videos showing the PO having a look] No further degradation of the Thermion was noted for the rest of the detachment. Naval Sea Systems Command is analyzing the performance of the coating...."

Source: ... Report.pdf (361Kb)