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Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2016, 02:51
by neptune
zerion wrote:F-35s Practice Vertical Landings on a Marine Corps Assault Ship

The U.S. Marine Corps has been landing F-35B Joint Strike Fighters on the amphibious assault ship USS America. The jets are undertaking a series of tests to prove their ability to operate in real-world deployment conditions, just months before their first real deployment abroad...

...not to digress but...the Brits are "developing" the roll on landing, as such "will" the Corp revise their approach and land from astern on the amphibs LHA/D to mitigate the "seaspray"???... :?: :)

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2016, 04:33
by spazsinbad
'neptune' come on - we have had this discussion a few times now. A few years ago when the SRVL contract for development was let the USMC indicated interest - in case they needed it for CVN use - and that idea was quickly squashed (but still early days). Eventually the USMC conceded to buy F-35Cs (instead of an ALL B fleet) for CVNs - end of story for them; with perhaps EMERGENCY SRVL use on a CVN by a B in some exotic unique circumstances yet to be dreamt.

26 forum pages of goodness: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=20304 F-35B UK SRVL info - Updated when new/old info available

Already the pushback about SRVL on the ultra wide deck of CVF (perhaps constricted by parking aircraft pointing aft at 45 degrees or so) is here without any details being known except the basic approach parameters & stopping distance when compared to a SHOL diagram for such an approach - see the SRVL titled thread. What is the WIDTH of an LHA (never mind the quality [length] - feel the width)? What is the length? And so we have even less space for an SRVL - even IF the USMC required one & they don't - another end of story. What saves any SRVL is a VL with weapons dumped - Another story end.

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2016, 03:11
by spazsinbad

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2016, 03:57
by tincansailor
This may be a silly question but what the heck. I've wondered for some time now what effect if any would salt spray have on the stealth characteristics of the F-35C? Anyone who has been at sea knows everything gets coated with salt sooner or later. Keeping salt off non-stealth aircraft was primarily for corrosion, is this an issue?

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2016, 04:29
by spazsinbad
Cannot say with 100% certainty because the F-35B/Cs have not been at sea too long - yet. However threads from ages past have made it clear that both were designed (and the A has benefitted) with the salt corrosion problem in mind. Many many materials/designs/testing have proven the robust worth of these aircraft to resist corrsosion and to make stealth maintenance relatively easier compared to prior stealth aircraft. Yes the C (& probably B) will have stealth maintenance sailors in the same way there are engine/airframe/avionics maintainers. Stealth is regarded as part of the weapon system and the stealth characteristics will be treated with respect. The stealth is robust and it has been said will improve with age (much like my goodself :mrgreen: ). Some links: the original quality of the graphic is poor and cannot be improved: ... ce-360.jpg & ... -aviation/

A thread is here: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=16457&p=288306&hilit=Grant+Stealth#p288306

"...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-today 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.”

Source: ... ARRIER.rtf [this RFT attaced as a PDF now]

LM FAST FACTS have the A & C engine the same. So if the C engine is corrosion proofed then so is the A engine (some here disagree though from old early info perhaps).

Good SLDinfo article:

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2016, 20:17
by quicksilver
"At-sea" requirements drove the maintainability of the LO system. Aiui, they've even kept materials continuously on a beach someplace for years now, testing it periodically to see how the stuff is doing.

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2016, 21:18
by spazsinbad
From links above this is to what 'QS' refers...
The F-35 Low Observability’s Lifelong Sustainability: A Revolutionary Asset for 21st Century Combat Aviation
22 May 2010 SLDinfo

"...SLD: How would you describe the stealth LO capability of the F-35 compared to legacy systems?
Bill Grant:  Performance-wise, it is a very aggressive capability.  From a design standpoint, it is a radical change from legacy systems.  In legacy stealth, the stealth in effect is a parasitic application of a multiple stack-up of material systems done in final finish after the actual airframe is built and completed.  In the case of the F-35, we’ve incorporated much of the LO system directly into the air frame itself.  The materials have been manufactured right into the structure, so they have the durability and lifetime qualities.  It makes them much more impervious to damage.  It is a much simpler system with fewer materials to contend with.

SLD: In terms of the way you’re describing it, stealth goes from being a surface appliqué to becoming an integral part of the actual product being manufactured, is this correct?
Bill Grant:  Exactly.

SLD: So this must have a significant impact on maritime operations.  For example, the future of the F-35Bs and Cs should be a significant improvement over legacy aircraft, shoulden’t it be?
Bill Grant:  Absolutely.  The Navy and Marine Corps have set the benchmark for the LO repair facility program and approach.  They work in the worst maintenance environments.  It was the challenge we had to meet.  So our material development effort and material qualification program was predicated and populated by requirements that were specifically suited for the Navy and Marine Corps.

We have the most extensive and aggressive material qualification in our history, probably in industry history.  We have as many as ten times more coupons per materials being tested.  We have engaged in a very aggressive approach to testing which has been developed with the military labs and the program office.  We have worked with them to shape the most aggressive and most challenging test regimen from all of their different programs and their experience, and thereby compiled those experiences into our test matrix.

And the testing process has led to changes in the repair approach as well as the manufacturing approach for the program.  Obviously, when we found deficiencies, we suggested changes to the manufacturing processes, which in turn were adopted.  Indeed, the interaction between maintainers and designers has been followed throughout the F-35 program in shaping the manufacturing approach.

SLD: You’ve mentioned “ten times the coupons being tested.”  What exactly does that mean?
Bill Grant: Well, we use little mechanical coupons.  They are then used to do mechanical testing in corrosion and twisting and pulling, and those are representatives of all of the structural integrations of panels and substructure, and the material systems that spanned gaps in the panels and substructure.  We test those coupons in those mechanical situations in both hot and cold extremes and we’ve yet to see any of those gaps open up.  Naturally, if you can keep the gaps from opening up and introducing contaminants, the potential for corrosion is much lower.

We also have a large selection of similar types of coupons representative of various elements of the structure that are in exposure environments. These environments are either in the laboratory, in our salt bog, exposed to acid rains, or stack gas type of environment – a very, very aggressive environment that they’re out on exposure racks or at Battelle’s corrosion test facilities out in Daytona Beach, which is considered by the Air Force to be the most corrosion-prone area in the Continental-48.

Those coupons being tested, by the way, are in both pristine and in deliberately damaged conditions so that we’ve introduced damage that either the maintenance environment or manufacturing anomalies could represent so that we have a good test of what all the materials do in that environment...."

Source: ... -aviation/

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2016, 21:26
by count_to_10
Salt is a dialectic, so it shouldn't be particularly reflective, and I think you have to have a solid chunk of it the size of a wavelength for it's index of refraction to matter. So I'd say it was down to chemical reactions with the RAM and possibly some delamination issues if salt crystals are growing inside of the weave.

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2016, 22:56
by popcorn
quicksilver wrote:"At-sea" requirements drove the maintainability of the LO system. Aiui, they've even kept materials continuously on a beach someplace for years now, testing it periodically to see how the stuff is doing.

I recall that they actually used an LO panel as a doormat in one of their facilities. After a year of foot traffic it emerged none the worse for wear.

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2016, 23:15
by spazsinbad
Yep that door mat quote would be on this forum in several places now but meanwhile....

...The 'doormat' quote is at the end of the main reference article above - to wit:
The F-35 Low Observability’s Lifelong Sustainability: A Revolutionary Asset for 21st Century Combat Aviation
22 May 2010 SLDinfo

"...SLD: In entering the facility, I noticed you have a “door mat” of stealth that’s been there for some time. Can you comment on this “door mat?”
Bill Grant:
Oh, the slab of stealth? That’s our welcome mat. Yes, we actually have one of the test panels that we use for assessing the stealth of the various materials. It represents a stack-up that’s consistent with the upper surface or the outer surface of the jet. It has the exact same structure and the primer and the topcoat system that you’ll find on the operational jets. And that gets walked upon every time somebody comes in or out of our lab area out there, the repair development center.

Occasionally, we take it up to test to see if there’s any electrical or mechanical degradation to the system and with around 25,000 steps across that system we have not seen any degradation whatsoever. So we have a great deal of confidence, however anecdotal that may be, that we have a very robust system."

Source: ... -aviation/

Building an 8,000-Hour Tactical Aircraft: 21st Century Materials Technology
27 Jul 2015 Ed Timperlake & Robbin Laird

"...Question: LO is obviously important but so is the durability of the air frame with regard to legacy aircraft. What is your sense of progress on this dimension?
There are a whole series of validation exercises that are being gone through to show that that design is in fact valid and durable throughout the entire 8,000 hour life of the air frame.

From a corrosion standpoint, we have used a series of lessons learned from all of the legacy programs that the team has: F/A-18, F16, and F22.

We’ve made decisions on material choices to minimize galvanic interactions and maximize protection of dissimilar materials, paying very close attention to the coatings, which have been an issue on some prior airframes.

Then on top of making good design decisions based on lessons learned, we have done a very aggressive corrosion test program looking at not just what we do for the typical Air Force programs, but also the Navy standard.

We’ve been validating through these intensive chamber testing, and now we’re on our seventh year of Seacoast Testing down at the Battelle Institute in Daytona Beach, FL where we’ve had airframe, representative airframe and coating coupons out on one of their beach facilities being subjected to daily salt and seacoast environment and looking for interactions that maybe we didn’t see, didn’t plan for, and being able – because we started so early in the program to do this, we’ve been able to make a couple of design changes based on that testing that have yielded a more durable, corrosion-resistant system....

...It is amazing how little maintenance the jet requires regarding LO.

Question: Certainly, for the Marines from the outset LO has been important, but having a highly durable aircraft equally so. In fact when General Heinz, was the head of the Joint Program Office, he often highlighted how important durability is the operational environment for Marines. What LO means is that the range of environments into which the Marine can inject combat airpower simply goes up. What about a refocus on durability as a key element of the contribution of 21st century materials technologies to the F-35 airframe.
Marines have a reputation for flying damaged and unrepaired airplanes because they’re very mission oriented.

We were concerned about their ability to maintain a VLO airplane given that mission focus. They have really impressed us.
They stepped right up and adapted to the requirements. They are aggressively changing their maintenance culture to accommodate LO. And that benefits, across the board, their care and feeding for the whole airplane.

The F-35 doesn’t really need kid glove handling, per se, but they are more attentive to it, and they are more responsive to maintenance requirements when they do come up so there’s a universal improvement of their maintenance culture....

...For those services that operate airplanes in more benign environments than an aircraft carrier, they’re getting the benefit of a coating system that’s designed for an aircraft carrier. Everybody gets the same thing...."

Source: ... echnology/

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2016, 19:50
by spazsinbad
Marines Refining F-35B Operations, Maintenance At Sea During Final Developmental Test
07 Nov 2016 Megan Eckstein

"...“We’re building up an experience level across the fleet, taking a lot of Marines that have never been on ships before, taking a lot of Navy personnel that have never interacted with the F-35 and putting out a representative number of aircraft for what a deployment would look like in the future,” Lt. Col. Richard Rusnok, Marine Operational Test & Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1) detachment officer in charge, told reporters on Oct. 31 aboard amphibious assault ship America....

...Rusnok said the F-35 personnel were also working with the ship’s crew to improve flight deck operations. He said the operational testers and the ship’s Landing Signal Officers, who talk to pilots during their approach to the ship and help them land safely, met earlier that day to discuss new procedures, which will be incorporated into Navy and Marine Corps publications and spread through the fleet to inform future operations.

The operational tester added that the entire test event will be more productive due to the collaboration with the developmental testers, who usually have separate test dates and keep their test data and lessons learned separate.

“I would think the biggest thing we’re getting out of this right now is our first opportunity to do integrated test amongst [Patuxent] River [Integrated Test Force] and VMX,” Rusnok said.

“In the past, operational test and developmental test had this gigantic wall between them; developmental test got done, it got tossed over the wall and then this widget showed up and we had to test it. That is a stupid way to do business and I think we all realize it. So the synergistic effects of sharing resources, number one, because there’s obviously a limited amount of resources, and the ability for us to look at what those guys are looking at. So for example, one of our aircraft we brought out here, which we own from VMX-1, has now got the same software version that one of their aircraft had, and we were able to get an early version of that so we could take a look at it and then also provide that asset for them to conduct developmental test on. So it makes everybody more efficient when you have a very limited window of three weeks at sea to get stuff done.”

The developmental testers are using the 3F software that brings the plane to full warfighting capability, with full weapons and data link imagery capability. VMX-1 upgraded one of its planes to that 3F software version; two of its planes have the 3I software variant that included an upgraded integrated core processor, and two have the 2B software that the Marines declared IOC with, with initial warfighting capability and a more limited set of weapons.

Whereas the operational testers are working to ensure tactics, techniques and procedures actually work while operating F-35B aboard a ship, the developmental testers are pushing the airframe in extreme ways to make sure it can handle whatever the fleet may need it to do.

Andrew Maack, the chief test engineer at Patuxent River ITF, said aboard the ship that developmental testers would look at some ship-integration issues, such as how the shape and location of the island on America – which has a different design than Wasp, which hosted previous tests – would affect the plane’s ability to land. The primary focus, though, was finding rough seas to make sure the plane could land with increased deck motion in up to sea state 5, and launching the plane with a heavy weapons load-out and returning to land with a much lighter gross weight.

The DT III test event built upon DT I in October 2011 and DT II in August 2013. In this final event, Maack said the developmental testers would push the operating envelop in terms of wind and deck motion, evaluate landing systems and mission systems, ensure shipboard maintenance and logistics work as planned, evaluate the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), conduct the first complete at-sea evaluation of the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) and more.

Maj. Rob Guyette, a developmental tester with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23), who has more than 200 hours of flight time in the F-35 but made his first night landing on a ship the night before speaking with reporters, said the F-35 was “easier to fly than a Cessna 172” and that Marines should be excited about the future of MEU aviation operations.

“Last night was dark, it was real dark – it was one-percent illumination, overcast, no moon, rainy, in and out of rain. And it was my first time ever landing vertically on a ship at night, and it was fun,” he said.

“I mean, to be honest with you, it was fun. And we’re sitting there and we were like, that is amazing that the airplane – okay, there’s things that as testers where like, this could be better, this could be better, this could be better – that’s our job, we’re hyper-critical of everything – our wives love it, by the way – but we’re always trying to make it better. But the thing is, the bottom line, Marines love to fight. We want to practice fighting – if we can’t fight, we want to practice fighting. What we don’t want to practice, what we don’t want to spend time and money or maintenance hours on is practicing how to land. … This airplane allows us to do that, completely focus on the mission, completely take the whole landing and administrative difficulty out of it.”"

Source: ... operations

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2016, 12:17
by spazsinbad
F-35B On Board USS America
03 Nov 2016 LM FlickR

"Seven F-35Bs are on board the USS America beginning Oct. 28 until mid-November. Two of the jets are scheduled to begin the third shipboard phase of developmental test (DT-III) and five are scheduled to conduct operational testing."

PHOTO: ... 42_o_d.jpg (2.2Mb)

Source: ... 041850865/

F-35B On Board USS America
31 Oct 2016 LM FlickR

"Five Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II aircraft landed on the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) on Friday, October 28. America will embark a total of seven F-35Bs during this testing period -- two are scheduled to begin the third shipboard phase of developmental test (DT-III) and five are scheduled to conduct operational testing."

PHOTO: ... 66_o_d.jpg (3.6Mb)

Source: ... 041850865/

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2016, 20:54
by spazsinbad
America's Familiarization Training Pays Off during F-35B DT-III
07 Nov 2016 F-35 PR

"PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) successfully completed its fifth day of F-35B Lightning II developmental test (DT-III) with the support of flight deck personnel who received specialized training in Yuma, Arizona, earlier in the month....

..."It was the first time we were able to have eyes on launch, recovery, and taxiing the aircraft," said Chief Petty Officer
Phillip Posada, V-1 Division's crash and salvage leading chief petty officer. "We were able to get familiarized with the
aircraft's tie down points, as well as ordnance and cockpit familiarization to ensure that we are able to take care of it
safely and without causing unnecessary damage to the aircraft."...

..."There is a slight difference in handling the AV-8B [Harrier] and the F-35B," said Posada. "The Lightning II packs more
of a punch when it takes off. Because of that, our handlers know to plant themselves firmly and grab a pad eye if
necessary to steady themselves. Another attribute is that it has a sharper turning radius, so we are able to taxi the
aircraft easier."

The crash and salvage team also learned how to implement their firefighting expertise with regard to approaching the
aircraft and shutdown procedures.

"For all the other aircraft the America embarks, we are taught to approach the aircraft from the starboard side," said
Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Montoya, Crash & Salvage Division's leading petty officer. "When it comes to the F-35B, we are taught to approach on the port side so we can initiate shutdown procedures more efficiently."

After completing the familiarization training, America embarked eight Sailors from USS Essex (LHD 2) to pass on their
knowledge and provide them an opportunity to work with the F-35B for the first time....

...America began flight operations with the F-35B Lightning II for the first time Oct. 28, and will continue testing until the end of November...."

Source: ... aining.pdf (113Kb)

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2016, 21:15
by archeman
16 Tie Downs per?
Can someone confirm if that is abnormal or perhaps they are just confirming the maximum?

Re: DT-III aboard USS America

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2016, 21:34
by SpudmanWP
archeman wrote:16 Tie Downs per?
Can someone confirm if that is abnormal or perhaps they are just confirming the maximum?


I can count at least 30