F-35 and X-47B

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post06 May 2013, 21:53

IMHO the smooth carrier landers do not have more success than 'other' technique users. What matters is the score by the LSO predicated on many parameters for a safe three wire landing. Some approaches can look 'not smooth' and score well whilst those newbies 'trying to be smooth' do badly. Smoothness does not really count except the reverse of 'excessive roughness' so to speak. Smooth can get an inexperienced pilot into trouble.

Here is a good 'approach photo' likely again at Opt AoA. The story itself has nothing that has not been noted in earlier articles on this and similar threads.

http://breakingdefense.com/2012/08/01/n ... -carriers/

Navy Teaches Robot Top Gun, X-47, To Fly From Aircraft Carriers By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. August 01, 2012

http://breakingdefense.com/wp-content/u ... eb011.jpeg
__________________________

Recent story has a good arrest photo but article itself unremarkable for info...

http://breakingdefense.com/2013/05/06/r ... ier-video/

Robot Top Gun: Navy X-47B Drone Rehearses To Land On Aircraft Carrier (VIDEO) By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. May 06, 2013

http://breakingdefense.com/wp-content/u ... 24x682.jpg
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Unread post06 May 2013, 22:51

All these quotes are scattered around this forum but worth repeating here in part. To answer 'jetnerd' it is thought that the auto engine controls will enable better more successful carrier landings on both the robot and piloted vehickles thus reducing engine wear (no bolters/waveoffs - going to burner etc.). A successful arrest does entail unavoidable airframe stress, however minimising the number of unsuccessful landing attempts (or training for the successful) will reduce the airframe stress over time ultimately. I'll start adding quotes....

Tailored to Trap December 1, 2012
"F-35C control laws give Navy pilots Integrated Direct Lift Control for easier carrier landings, and they open the door for future landing aids....

...“The landing approach in the F-35C is flown with the stick only,” noted Canin. “The throttle is automatic.” IDLC may someday facilitate hands-off landings and other possible F-35 shipboard enhancements...."

http://www.aviationtoday.com/av/militar ... 77964.html
_________________________________

F-35C Integrated Direct Lift Control: How It Works Eric Tegler on October 9, 2012
"...In a few years the F-35C’s flight control system will pair with the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) to enable data-linked approaches controlled from the carrier. IDLC will take relevant incoming data from the flight control computer and aid in making the process that much more precise...." [Cmdr. Eric “Magic” Buus]

http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stor ... -it-works/
________________________________

Trials Ahead for Navy Carrier Landing Software by Armed Forces International's Defence Correspondent 21/10/2011
"New software designed to assist US Navy pilots landing combat jets on aircraft carriers will be tested in 2012, the Office of Naval Research said in a 20 October press release. The flying skills demonstrated by naval aviators are often applauded - given that theirs is a role that demands extreme accuracy and concentration. Bringing high performance combat aircraft like the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet into a comparatively small space, on a moving platform, is a tricky business. It requires constant speed and flight control surface adjustments to ensure the correct trajectory's being followed.

Navy Carrier Landing Software
The new naval carrier landing software aims to simplify this process, bringing an unprecedented degree of precision to the maritime arena. "The precision that we can bring to carrier landings in the future will be substantial", the deputy chief of naval research for naval air warfare and weapons, Michael Deitchman, explained in the release, adding: "The flight control algorithm has the potential to alter the next 50 years of how pilots land on carrier decks."

The algorithm is designed to work in tandem with a so-called Bedford Array lighting system positioned on the aircraft carrier and a series of symbols presented in the pilot's HUD (Heads-Up Display). It connects the control stick straight to the aircraft's trajectory with the result that, rather than have to make minute shifts, the pilot directs the aircraft so it beams a fragmented green line in the HUD.

"You're tracking a shipboard stabilized visual target with a flight path reference, and the airplane knows what it needs to do to stay there", Naval Air Systems Command representative James Denham stated, in explanation.

Naval Landing Software Trials
Live tests involving the navy carrier landing software haven't yet been performed, but the algorithm's been trialled in a Super Hornet simulator. Next year, though, the naval landing software trials will get underway and both US Navy and Royal Navy pilots will be involved. The Royal Navy no longer has a fixed-wing naval strike capability but will receive F-35C Joint Strike Fighters in around 2018. [Since then changed back to F-35Bs again for RN/RAF on CVFs.]

The advent of the new carrier landing software will present several advantages. Pilot workloads will be reduced but, alongside this, carrier landing training programmes won't need to be as rigorous as they are now.

Additionally, while naval aircraft like the Super Hornet typically have strengthened undercarriages, to with-stand the impact of heavy deck landings, they're not necessarily indestructible. Consequently, the potential's there for related repair and maintenance costs to reduce, too."

http://www.armedforces-int.com/news/tri ... tware.html
Last edited by spazsinbad on 06 May 2013, 23:16, edited 3 times in total.
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Unread post06 May 2013, 23:02

spazsinbad wrote:IMHO the smooth carrier landers do not have more success than 'other' technique users. What matters is the score by the LSO predicated on many parameters for a safe three wire landing. Some approaches can look 'not smooth' and score well whilst those newbies 'trying to be smooth' do badly. Smoothness does not really count except the reverse of 'excessive roughness' so to speak. Smooth can get an inexperienced pilot into trouble.

Not disagreeing with you. Only pointing out that an experienced pilot shouldn't have to make excessive and unnecessary large power corrections.

@jetnerd: Each carrier approach results in the engine being cycled from low-power to MIL power, and so if the jet has to go around, then that puts strain on the engine and airframe. To a lesser extent, the same is true when a nugget makes large power changes, it all puts increased strain on the engine.

I doubt they'll be a large push for F-35 pilots to go "hands off" just to save wear and tear, as pilot proficiency will be a major concern. There is very few Naval Aviators who can claim they have sufficient traps, and sufficient currency, that they'd go ACLS because they've mastered landing on a carrier. Pilots do sometimes use ACLS after long missions, because its safer than trying manual pass when fatigue factors may be involved.

As Spaz noted above (that I'm not disagreeing with), IDLC will enable the F-35 to land using stick only, which will reduce wear on the aircraft and its engine, compared to older stick-and-throttle approaches. IDLC is more than just auto-throttle obviously.
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Unread post06 May 2013, 23:11

I'll get me quotes finished eventually however as pointed out above reducing the 'failed' deck landings and reducing the training time for deck landings with better software in the aircraft to enable manual approaches (or automatic eventually - best read the sources such as the first one above). Who knows if later generations of carrier pilots will be more able to accept automatic landings - along with the manual landings and those inbetween as 'neurotech' mentions. Do not resist change when change is worthwhile. The Bedford Array may not only supplement the present IFLOLS but may replace it altogether if it works well in practice once the F-35B/Cs are onboard and the legacy aircraft fade away.

A carrier approach is a real time event where the pilot does what it takes to remain within the parameters required. If such 'smooth' pilot does not react appropriately for whatever the situation requires for the sake of so called 'smoothness' then buddy he better have a telephone book in the back of his flight suit to absorb the kicks subsequently! :D Meatball Lineup and Airspeed (no smooth there).

From a Neptunus Lex (also a former LSO) story ‘RHYTHMS Part 13 to 15’
"1) Never lead a low or a slow.

2) If you’re low and slow, add power and maintain attitude until the ball is in the center, then accel to on-speed.

3) Always lead a high or a fast.

4) If you’re high and fast, decel to on-speed & then work the ball down to the center.

5) Fly the ball to touchdown [t/d should be a surprise]. Don’t give up. [Just do it.]"

http://www.neptunuslex.com/2005/10/13/r ... rt-xxxiii/ [My comments in brackets]
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Unread post06 May 2013, 23:32

On previous page of this threade 'neptune' asked: "...Appears to be a very accurate landing and curious about the JPALS (F-35 subsystem) contribution." The info below is a bit out of date but points to the ongoing building/testing of JPALS which so far is going well with one or two systems being delivered for further testing recently which may include X-47B. Some kind of mashup system thoroughly tested will guide the X-47B to a carrier landing and likely in play in the shore scenario testing also (but I guess).

JPALS team wins DoD award Nov 13, 2012
"...The next significant milestone for the JPALS team is reaching Milestone C in the fall of 2013. Milestone C is the decision to authorize full production & fielding of the JPALS system.”

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=5175
_____________________________

NavAirSysCom Core Avionics Master Plan 2011
"...3. Funded Enhancements and Potential Pursuits.
Digitally Augmented GPS-based Shipboard Recovery (JPALS). (2015) JPALS is a joint effort with the Air Force and Army. The Navy is designated as the Lead Service and is responsible for implementation of shipboard recovery solutions (Increment 1).

JPALS will be installed on the newest carrier and its air-wing aircraft (F/A-18E/F, EA18G, E-2C/D, and MH-60 R/S) [& Navy unmanned air systems]. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Block 5 will be equipped with a temporary solution that will provide needles to the operator to enable a “JPALS assisted” approach. However, the interim solution will not equip the aircraft to broadcast its position in a manner that can be monitored by JPALS equipment on the ship. Legacy radar will have to be used for the shipboard monitoring of the approach.

JPALS will eventually replace the ACLS on carriers, SPN-35 radars on LH Class Amphibious ships, and ILS, TACAN, and Precision Approach Radar (PAR) systems at shore stations. JPALS will be interoperable with civil augmentation and FAA certifiable.

Shipboard JPALS will use Differential GPS (D-GPS) to provide centimeter-level accuracy for all-weather, automated landings. D-GPS provides a SRGPS reference solution for the moving landing zone. A JPALS technology equipped F/A-18 has demonstrated fully automated recoveries to the carrier. JPALS will also enable silent operations in Emission Control (EMCON) environments."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/pma209/_Docu ... p_2011.pdf
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Unread post06 May 2013, 23:49

Noting that the X-47B makes it's landing approach with it's spoilers up, it's possible that they adjust it's elevation with those instead of throttle changes.
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Unread post07 May 2013, 00:41

count_to_10 wrote:Noting that the X-47B makes it's landing approach with it's spoilers up, it's possible that they adjust it's elevation with those instead of throttle changes.

Likely a combination of both aerodynamic controls (spoilers, flaps, other control surfaces) and throttle changes. That is basically how Integrated Direct Lift Control on the F-35 works, use aerodynamic controls to adjust glidepath. Aerodynamic controls are much more responsive than throttling the engine.
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Unread post07 May 2013, 00:51

A long screed explaining MODE 1 approaches today....

STRIKE TEST NEWS Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 Newsletter 2012 Issue
SHIP SUITABILITY PROJECT TEAM LCDR Robert "Timmay!" Bibeau, Ship Suitability Department Head
"...MANAGING MODE I EXPECTATIONS [page 17-18]
VX-23 certifies PALS for all CVNs. We usually do this about every two years, early in the workup cycle as part of the Flight Deck Certification. Our goal is to verify that the IFLOLS, SPN-41 (Instrument Carrier Landing System, or ICLS) and SPN-46 (Automatic Carrier Landing System, or ACLS) function properly, are aligned with each other, and lead the pilot to a good start. We check the average ACLS Mode I hook touchdown point and tweak it if necessary. As part of this process we fly dozens of Mode I approaches over a three day period. Additionally, VX-23 troubleshoots PALS anomalies when they occur. Sometimes there is a hardware-related root cause which needs to be corrected, but sometimes concerns result from pilot misconceptions or unrealistic expectations.

Whether or not you’re a frequent Mode I user, it is a valuable “tool” with the capability to recover aircraft down to zero-zero conditions. Understanding a few basic concepts about how the system operates is crucial. The “99 taxi lights on” call is too late to consider how to fly the Mode I.

The ACLS can be set to either 3.5 or 4? glideslope, and it is normally very good at flying that commanded glideslope. Typical vertical error at ¾ nm is less than a foot. In fact, the ACLS is usually more accurate and precise than the IFLOLS. The IFLOLS is aligned to a tolerance of +/-0.05?, which equates to almost 4 feet at ¾ nm, and a single IFLOLS cell at the same distance covers about 10 feet of elevation. Remember that there is no center cell on the IFLOLS: you are either looking at the high-center/”cresting” cell or the low-center/”sagging” cell. Most IFLOLS are aligned just a little on the high side, which means that more often than not during the Mode I you are on glideslope but looking at the low-center IFLOLS cell.

Most proficient pilots will not accept being low, and are more likely to fly the high-center cell during uncoupled passes. Additionally, experienced pilots often try to “crest” the ball, or fly along the boundary between two adjacent cells in order to see ball movement and more precisely determine glideslope. To a pilot or LSO used to flying or waving uncoupled passes, a Mode I often looks a little low all the way, when the reality is that normal uncoupled passes tend to average a little higher than the nominal glideslope.

Much like your FNG [freckingnewguy], the Mode I does not anticipate the burble. The system attempts to fly commanded glideslope and reacts to any deviations as they occur. The system reacts very quickly to very small deviations, but there is still some lag due to the laws of physics and flight control/engine response time. Often this will result in a little settle as the aircraft passes through the burble. The magnitude of this settle tends to increase with the strength of the burble, and is more noticeable with axial or starboard winds.

Shortly before touchdown the SPN-46 antennas lose the ability to track the aircraft due to the rapidly changing line of sight. 1.5 seconds prior to touchdown the system enters “command freeze” and will attempt to hold the last commanded rate of descent. The flight controls and throttles will still move as the jet works to maintain this descent rate, but the system is no longer actively updating the descent rate to target the desired hook touchdown point. Any unpredicted disturbances in the flight path in the last 1.5 seconds of flight (for example due to shifting winds or airflow around the ship) are not corrected for. The system is often still reacting to the burble when it enters command freeze. If the aircraft has settled in the burble, the commanded descent rate is shallowed to fix the low and then frozen, resulting in a flat flight path across the ramp. Put all of these effects together, and a “typical” Mode I pass on most ships looks a little low all the way, with a little settle in close and a little low flat at the ramp.

During a PALS certification we attempt to tune the Mode I touchdown point for ideal winds. When winds are less than perfect Mode I performance tends to degrade. As winds become more starboard the strength and position of the burble change, and the magnitude of the trends noted above increases. Settles tend to increase in magnitude. Rhinos tend to get a little flatter at the ramp, overcorrecting for the settle in the burble and often landing long and right with the occasional bolter. Hornets try to do the same, but often don’t have the power to recover from the settle and tend to land a little short.

These behaviors are general trends. Ultimately it’s up to the pilot and LSO to decide the acceptable magnitude of deviation during a Mode I, and the pilot must always be ready to take over manually when required. Understanding the normal behavior of the ACLS Mode I can help manage expectations and better prepare the pilot and LSO for deviations when they occur. VX-23 is always available to discuss PALS performance. If you notice a trend of questionable Mode I performance, or experience even a single unsafe Mode I, please don’t hesitate to contact us...."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/nawcad/index ... oad&id=670 (PDF 2Mb)
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Unread post07 May 2013, 00:57

More JPALS news...

STRIKE TEST NEWS Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 Newsletter 2012 Issue
JOINT PRECISION APPROACH AND LANDING SYSTEM (JPALS) LT Luke "Smuggla" Johnson [page 19]
"...Shore-based testing began in early July 2012 with a Beechcraft King Air 100 series aircraft providing a low cost airborne testing laboratory for JPALS. Further shore-based testing with legacy F/A-18’s is expected to begin later this fiscal year with at-sea tests beginning in spring of 2013 onboard CVN-77. Though a fully integrated JPALS air wing is not expected for sometime, both contractor and VX-23 personnel are already working closely with the LSO School and other fleet assets to ensure delivery of a quality system that will provide enhanced capability to fleet users."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/nawcad/index ... oad&id=670 (PDF 2.1Mb)
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Unread post07 May 2013, 01:41

Back to 'neptune' question about 'what was it?".... ["...Appears to be a very accurate landing and curious about the JPALS (F-35 subsystem) contribution."]

STRIKE TEST NEWS Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 Newsletter 2012 Issue
X-47B PROJECT TEAM CDR Kevin "LAMB" Watkins X-47B Department Head N-UCAS Government Flight Test Director
"...The Carrier Systems... surrogate teams have been busy as well, continuing to test the developmental software loads and actual X-47B hardware that will eventually guide the X-47B onto the ship.... The Carrier Systems team has been flying a Beechcraft King Air and two modified F/A-18s both at Pax River and aboard USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN-75), advancing the X-47B navigation and guidance software and validating/ verifying the shipboard landing, command, control, and monitoring systems. In July, the team successfully completed shipboard verification of all systems installed onboard CVN-75, paving the way for our at-sea deck handling testing with the X-47B aircraft later this December [2012]....

...UCAS-D AIR SYSTEM TEAM LCDR Brian "Penny" Loustaunau & LT Allan "Kreepy" Jespersen"
Every day the X-47B test team moves closer to demonstrating that an unmanned, autonomous aircraft can operate and be integrated successfully into all aspects of CV operations. The X-47B "Iron Raven" is an unmanned, autonomous aircraft controlled in flight by a Mission Operator (MO) located in a Mission Test Control Center (MTCC) linked to the AV via a Line-of-Sight (LOS) radio Command and Control Data Link (C2DL). In the UCAS-D program the MO does not provide direct pilot inputs, but can alter the autonomous flight profile as emergent situations require. The program relies on the development, testing and implementation of complex software systems so that the demonstration goal of landing on an aircraft carrier is possible....

...This allowed the test team to begin integration of the AV into ground operations at Pax River with high speed taxi tests and attempted roll-in arrestments. AV-1 is currently modified to begin Block 2 testing, which encompasses shore based catapults, arrestments, and precision navigation performance, paving the way towards the program’s goal of shipboard arrested landings in the spring of 2013.... Block 2 testing, scheduled to begin this summer and extend through the fall and winter, will move UCAS-D toward CV integration with heavy testing in a shorebased carrier-representative environment.... Block 2 testing will also see the X-47B testing its Precision GPS (PGPS) navigation system, taking the first ever autonomous catapult shots and autonomous arrested landings at Pax River...."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/nawcad/index ... oad&id=670 (PDF 2.1Mb)
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Unread post07 May 2013, 01:56

So, at what point will automated landings be capable of landing on something significantly smaller than a full flat-top? Say, and extendable platform on the side of a destroyer?
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Unread post07 May 2013, 03:47

IF you refer to a vertical landing the VACC Harrier (now retired) when testing the Control Laws for the F-35B carried out a completely automatic vertical landing some years ago now. Here is one reference:

Push button plane landing hailed 21 May 2005
"The 'push button landing' was onto the deck of HMS Invincible Landing Harrier jump jets on ships in bad weather can now be done at the touch of a button, British technology firm Qinetiq has announced.

It is hoped the technology will allow pilots to fly missions that would not otherwise have been possible.

The system was based on "some very complicated maths which would remain a trade secret", the project's technical manager Jeremy Howitt said.

The technology could also be used on helicopters, frigates and destroyers.

Red button
The first automatic ship landing by "short take-off vertical landing" (STOVL) aircraft was achieved during a test on HMS Invincible.

It is part of the Ministry of Defence's £2bn contribution to America's $40bn Joint Strike Fighter programme.

It's something Harrier pilots have always wanted - a big red button to push and take you straight to the coffee bar (Pilot Justin Paines)

The device works by linking a STOVL aircraft, via satellite and radio, to an aircraft carrier, Mr Howitt said.

It enables the aircraft and the carrier to know the relative location of one another to
within 10cm.

Qinetiq pilot Justin Paines, 41, who was on the Harrier jet equipped with the new system said it made things "completely automatic".

In the new procedure, pilots have to press the button to plot a route in, press it again to accept and then a third time to engage.

"We are trying to make the task of recovering the aircraft to the carrier as simple as possible and let pilots focus on their war mission," he added."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4567923.stm
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Unread post07 May 2013, 16:15

Where is the tailhook on the X-47B in relation to the main gear? Is it different from the F-35C?
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Unread post07 May 2013, 20:48

I'll guess that these graphics are to scale from....

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Concurrency Quick Look Review 29 Nov 2011

http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2 ... report.pdf (18.3Mb)
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Unread post07 May 2013, 23:02

spazsinbad wrote:IF you refer to a vertical landing the VACC Harrier (now retired) when testing the Control Laws for the F-35B carried out a completely automatic vertical landing some years ago now. Here is one reference:

No, I meant a tail-hook landing. How much space is needed at an absolute minimum if we remove human limitations? Can you reduce the launch and landing space to something that could be retro-fitted to a destroyer?
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