F-35 gun INOP until 2019

F-35 Armament, fuel tanks, internal and external hardpoints, loadouts, and other stores.
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maus92

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Unread post31 Dec 2014, 17:25

Another dense article from DM, best read at the source:

New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019
America’s $400 billion Joint Strike Fighter, or F-35, is slated to join fighter squadrons next year—but missing software will render its onboard 25mm cannon useless.
Dave Majumdar | TDB | 12-31-2014

"The Pentagon’s newest stealth jet, the nearly $400 billion Joint Strike Fighter, won’t be able to fire its gun during operational missions until 2019, three to four years after it becomes operational.

Even though the Joint Strike Fighter, or F-35, is supposed to join frontline U.S. Marine Corps fighter squadrons next year and Air Force units in 2016, the jet’s software does not yet have the ability to shoot the onboard 25mm cannon. But even when the jet will be able to shoot its gun, the F-35 barely carries enough ammunition to make the weapon useful...."

"“There will be no gun until [the Joint Strike Fighter’s Block] 3F [software], there is no software to support it now or for the next four-ish years,” said one Air Force official affiliated with the F-35 program. “Block 3F is slated for release in 2019, but who knows how much that will slip?”..."

"Another Air Force official familiar with the F-35 confirmed that the jet won’t have the software to fire its gun until the Block 3F software is released to frontline squadrons sometime in 2019. Neither Lockheed nor the F-35 Joint Program Office responded to inquiries about the status of the jet’s gun.

Right now, the F-35’s software doesn’t support the use of the aircraft’s GAU-22/A four-barreled rotary cannon. The weapon was developed from the U.S. Marine Corps’ AV-8B Harrier II jump-jet’s GAU-12/U cannon, but it has one fewer barrel and weighs less.

[...]

Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2 ... -2019.html
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luke_sandoz

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Unread post31 Dec 2014, 17:33

Lotsa Air Force pilots with no names but lotsa opinions.
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post31 Dec 2014, 18:05

And not one of them is an F-35 pilot.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post31 Dec 2014, 18:31

Wait how often are targets being "marked with rockets" right now?

F-35 won't have the gun it doesn't need?

Anywho, no names, no credibility. If they feel this is that big a problem they need to nut up or shut up.
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quicksilver

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Unread post31 Dec 2014, 18:47

Ho humm... Dave oughta do some research instead of listening to the latest whisperer with an axe to grind.

The gun has been a planned Block 3F capability for a long time. Block 3F Fleet Release is end of 3d quarter/beginning of 4th quarter 2017 -- not 2019.

Here's a link from a PEO SWG brief (see slide 6), but I bet Spaz can find docs going back to 2010 or 2011 refecting same.

download/file.php?id=18234

As I mentioned the other day, it wont be the last time we hear from unnamed "officials" particularly with budget season looming just over the horizon.
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arrow-nautics

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Unread post31 Dec 2014, 19:45

If there's one thing about maus92 I can appreciate (even though it's partly annoying) is I need not seek out all the negative, mostly foolish news on the JSF since he is diligent in his posting. This way I need not investigate negative articles posted by detractors. Ninety nine percent of the time these posts usually involve old rehashed arguments of myths that have been debunked.

Pathetic critiquing & bad reporting must in turn, logically mean that the critiques are falling on deaf ears & the program is running hot. The hotter it gets, the more nonsensical rhetoric one will encounter. It's as if they have a filing cabinet with 365 different numbered, old argument articles or points of view. So on December 31st, 2014 it's time to rehash the argument from December 31st, 2011....and so on. Expect future criticisms to become even more bizarre & laughable. They're panicking! 8)

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XanderCrews

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Unread post31 Dec 2014, 20:25

maus92 wrote:"“There will be no gun until [the Joint Strike Fighter’s Block] 3F [software], there is no software to support it now or for the next four-ish years,” said one Air Force official affiliated with the F-35 program. “Block 3F is slated for release in 2019, but who knows how much that will slip?”..."


Block3F is slated for 2019? very knowledge, Much authority, Such source. Wow.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post31 Dec 2014, 20:26

arrow-nautics wrote:If there's one thing about maus92 I can appreciate (even though it's partly annoying) is I need not seek out all the negative, mostly foolish news on the JSF since he is diligent in his posting. This way I need not investigate negative articles posted by detractors. Ninety nine percent of the time these posts usually involve old rehashed arguments of myths that have been debunked.

Pathetic critiquing & bad reporting must in turn, logically mean that the critiques are falling on deaf ears & the program is running hot. The hotter it gets, the more nonsensical rhetoric one will encounter. It's as if they have a filing cabinet with 365 different numbered, old argument articles or points of view. So on December 31st, 2014 it's time to rehash the argument from December 31st, 2011....and so on. Expect future criticisms to become even more bizarre & laughable. They're panicking! 8)



Its fun isn't it? :mrgreen: Ever since the F-35 trapped things have become more desperate. Can't wait for the next non story.

FTFA:

“So, about good for one tactical burst,” the first Air Force official said. “Hope you don’t miss.”


Never good to miss during CAS as it is...

And while that gun-pod version for the Navy and Marines carries slightly more ammo, with 220 rounds, some in the military are complaining that it’s not enough. “So, about good for one tactical burst,” the first Air Force official said. “Hope you don’t miss.”

The lack of a cannon is a particular problem, as the F-35 is being counted on to help out infantrymen under fire. (This is known as close air support, or CAS, in military jargon.) The F-35 will lack the ability to mark a target or attack enemy forces in “danger close” situations, said one highly experienced Air Force fighter pilot.

“Lack of forward firing ordnance in a CAS supporting aircraft is a major handicap,” he added. “CAS fights are more fluid than air interdiction, friendlies and targets move... Oftentimes quickly. The...

...“GPS-guided munitions with long times of fall are useless when the ground commander doesn’t know exactly where the fire is coming from, or is withdrawing and the enemy is pursuing,” said another Air Force fighter pilot. “GPS munitions are equally useless when dropped from an aircraft when the pilot has near zero ability to track the battle with his own eyes.”



Hey look everyone! A-10 talking points! Guns, altitude, CAS, and visual acquisition... Marking rockets are new... OA-10?
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arrow-nautics

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Unread post31 Dec 2014, 20:54

“So, about good for one tactical burst,” the first Air Force official said. “Hope you don’t miss.”


Never good to miss during CAS as it is...


http://aviationweek.com/awin/10-victim- ... lt-choices

And out of no where. Bill Sweetman shocks me. He's never been a JSF fan, far from it & in no way does he even endorse it here. But here he's dissing the A-10 somewhat. By not advocating the A-10 on CAS he's inadvertently endorsing the JSF, not willingly but by default. After all, get the A-10 out of the way & the USAF brass get what they want - more F-35A engineers & maintenance staff. Bill, by design or not; IS WRITING THIS??? Wait, what?

I hate to say it but Sweetman is right (Sorry maus92 :devil: ). There's NO scenario that calls for 240 Warthogs, JSF or not.

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quicksilver

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Unread post31 Dec 2014, 21:31

“So, about good for one tactical burst,” the first Air Force official said. “Hope you don’t miss.”

220 rounds in one burst? Yee-ha cowboy...only if you're John Wayne-ing it.
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Unread post31 Dec 2014, 21:48

arrow-nautics wrote:
“So, about good for one tactical burst,” the first Air Force official said. “Hope you don’t miss.”


Never good to miss during CAS as it is...


http://aviationweek.com/awin/10-victim- ... lt-choices

And out of no where. Bill Sweetman shocks me. He's never been a JSF fan, far from it & in no way does he even endorse it here. But here he's dissing the A-10 somewhat. By not advocating the A-10 on CAS he's inadvertently endorsing the JSF, not willingly but by default. After all, get the A-10 out of the way & the USAF brass get what they want - more F-35A engineers & maintenance staff. Bill, by design or not; IS WRITING THIS??? Wait, what?

I hate to say it but Sweetman is right (Sorry maus92 :devil: ). There's NO scenario that calls for 240 Warthogs, JSF or not.

Two major issues at play here. The reason the USAF suggests retiring the A-10 is that there is a whole logistics infrastructure to support it. eg. TF-34 engines are now only the A-10. Having said that, they could probably come up with a way to convert CF-34 civilian engines to TF-34 standard for use on the A-10. I'm sure they could also outsource the maintenance to another operator of the CF-34 engine.

Personally, I think that downsizing the A-10s in service, but keeping the jet operational is justified. The USAF did wonders with 64 F-117s so drawing down from 240 A-10s and still being able to pack a punch.

The larger issue is that the F-35A should have a working gun, even if its in a pod. Claiming a "software" limitation is restricting gun usage is bulls**t. More likely, they don't have budget and schedule to validate the gun software before then.

If the legendary Gen. Robin Olds (or any Expeditionary Wing commander with pull at the Pentagon) really wanted a working gun in a combat deployable F-35A for the USAF, it would happen in weeks not years. Software would get written real fast.

The Pentagon has rushed several weapon systems into combat recently (non-publicly) mainly involving UAV/UCAV/ELINT activities.
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count_to_10

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Unread post31 Dec 2014, 23:47

You could re-engine the A-10 to some currently in production private jet engine in order to reduce operational cost (and maybe even give it some of the thrust it is lacking), but that would be yet another investment in an aircraft that is going to be retired very soon regardless. The only real reason to keep the A-10 is that doing so makes use of a sunk cost: sinking even more cost into it kind of defeats the purpose.
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KamenRiderBlade

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Unread post31 Dec 2014, 23:49

Yeah, if software is the limitation, then it could get done in weeks.

It's a matter of budget, priorities, and testing schedule.

But if the only hold back is software for the internal gun, then it's not that big of an issue IMO.
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Unread post01 Jan 2015, 00:13

count_to_10 wrote:You could re-engine the A-10 to some currently in production private jet engine in order to reduce operational cost (and maybe even give it some of the thrust it is lacking), but that would be yet another investment in an aircraft that is going to be retired very soon regardless. The only real reason to keep the A-10 is that doing so makes use of a sunk cost: sinking even more cost into it kind of defeats the purpose.

Engine maintenance is a key part of aircraft logistics, and the CF34 engine (TF34 is military version) is widely used in regional and business jets. The USAF could get surplus CF34 engines relatively cheaply and get them overhauled by civilians pretty easily. This would reduce costs, especially with a reduced fleet size.
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Unread post01 Jan 2015, 00:41

I seriously doubt that software development is on the critical path to cannon employment. Rather, I suspect the qualification of the new ammo (25mm APEX) along with adequate time to accumulate sufficient live and inert rounds for testing and training is the bottleneck.

Here's the schedule for 25mm APEX as of mid-2014. Note, there are other 25mm cannon rounds that have been proposed for the GAU-22 including an advanced, non-explosive Tungsten-cored round from GD-OTS (the GAU-22's OEM).
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