1st Amphibious Ship Built for F-35 to Conduct Tests with Jet

Production milestones, roll-outs, test flights, service introduction and other milestones.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post26 Jul 2016, 17:08

Back to melting decks during take off on the hangar deck now - for gorsake get a grip.
First Amphibious Ship Built for F-35 to Conduct Tests with Jet
12 Jul 2016 Hope Hodge Seck

"FARNBOROUGH, England –The U.S. Marine Corps is months away from conducting crucial at-sea tests with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that will zero in on the aircraft’s ability to operate from a ship and the logistics of maintenance underway.

Speaking at the Farnborough International Airshow on Monday, the commanding officer of Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1), Col. George Rowell, said the unit was gearing up for Developmental Test 3 for the F-35B short take-off and vertical lift variant of the aircraft.

The three-and-a-half week exercise will begin in October and take place aboard the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6), the first in a new class of ships built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. and with key design elements to accommodate the fifth-generation fighter made by Lockheed Martin Corp....

...In March, the America wrapped up a ten-month period of maintenance that included deck-strengthening measures needed to accommodate regular F-35 take-offs, which can scorch and melt a conventional hangar deck over time. [take offs/hangar deck? WTF]

Rowell told Military.com the test would evaluate F-35 operations in high-sea state, landings aboard the amphib, and night operations. Perhaps even more significantly, it would simulate extensive maintenance aboard ship.

“We’re going to take a VMX jet to the ship, put it in the hangar bay, tear it apart, and put it together again, just to make sure that everything goes well,” he said.

The maintenance work will include the replacement of a lift fan, the specialized equipment made by Rolls Royce and Pratt and Whitney that gives the F-35B variant its short take-off “jump jet” capability, Rowell said....

...The Marine Corps now has 45 F-35s. In all, the service plans to purchase 353 F-35Bs and 63 F-35C carrier-variant planes to populate 20 squadrons."

Source: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2016/07/12/first ... -with-jet/
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Unread post27 Jul 2016, 01:18

Loads of info in this one.

F-35 Asymmetric Tests Pave Way for DT-3 Sea-Trials
The F-35B’s vertical landing crosswind limits is currently 15 kt., although the aircraft can translate at speeds of 20-25 kt. The team want to confirm computer models and prove how the aircraft will operate in such conditions. The issue was rarely a concern for older generations of STOVL, as they did not often bring back such high-tech munitions.


The DT-3 trials have been timed so that the test team can take advantage of rougher seas several hundred miles off the Pacific West Coast to test the aircraft’s ability to operate onto the deck in high-sea states.
The plan is to be able to operate in conditions up to sea state six, equivalent to wave heights of 13-20 ft.
The DT-3 tests will involve several two instrumented aircraft, likely BF-5 and either BF-1 or 4.

With Britain wanting to rebuild its carrier strike capability, the UK plans to begin maritime flight trials of the F-35B from the new HMS Queen Elizabeth in late 2018.
“This will not be a DT phase,” said Wilson.
“Testing on the Queen Elizabeth will be like DTs 1, 2 and 3 combined.”


“We don’t need to use fully instrumented aircraft; we already understand most of the loads on the aircraft systems, as we have tested that during earlier tests,” added Wilson. The trials, off the East Coast of the U.S., are expected to take several months.

The ship rolling vertical landing process, developed for the UK to increase bring-back capability, will also be tested during the 2018 trials. In the first quarter of 2017, a major project will be conducted to “produce a body of work to prove whether or not SRVL is fundamentally safe procedurally,” Wilson says.

The program will fully occupy BAE Systems’ simulator in Warton for between two and three months. Up to 10 STOVL-qualified pilots will be flying simulated SRVLs in combinations of “every load you can fly, day and night, every ambient temperature, pressure, all the wind conditions and ship speeds,” Wilson says. Simulated failures – to brakes, nose gear, computers and helmet-mounted display – will also be included.


http://aviationweek.com/shownews/f-35-a ... sea-trials
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Unread post27 Jul 2016, 02:19

Nice find 'bumtish' thanks. I'll excerpt again the last paragraphs about SRVL over on the SRVL thread (because I like it). :mrgreen:
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Unread post29 Aug 2016, 17:10

Sadly I think some more hyperbole about 'ripping up decks' when probably 'ripping up the non-skid' would be more appropriate but I can only guess from all the info that has gone before about putting intercostal steel plates under landing spots. Search on INTERCOSTAL for this info. Sadly it seems USNI News not invited to F-35C DT-III - no news whatsoever.
USS America Air Department Prepares For F-35B Testing This Fall
29 Aug 2016 Megan Eckstein

"Amphibious assault ship USS America’s (LHA-6) deck crew is gearing up for F-35B Joint Strike Fighter testing this fall, with ship modifications for the new plane complete but crew training still ongoing.

The Navy and Marine Corps will test the new short-takeoff vertical-landing plane on the newest big-deck amphib in October. The ship came out of a maintenance availability in March with physical modifications to support the bigger and more powerful jet, but America‘s assistant air department head told USNI News aboard the ship last month that the crew would be busy preparing for F-35 in the intervening months.

The department plans to send 30 to 40 crew members to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina for F-35B handling and firefighting training, Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Miller said. While the deck crew of the amphibious assault ships already handles both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, the JSF presents some unique challenges.

Noting that the F-35 stores its weapons internally to stay stealthy, the mini boss said that “normally the first thing we do if there’s a fire on deck is we put cooling water on the ordnance. Now if the ordnance is inside the aircraft, how are we supposed to cool the ordnance? This is a technical problem that we haven’t totally gotten the answer for yet, we’re hoping they’re going to come up with something. But in the mean time we’ll go there, we’ll get training on the uniqueness of the airframe, how to properly tie it down – being that it’s more composite than ever, the techniques you use on how to chain it down, how tight they are and everything else become more and more important so that we don’t mess up a $100-million jet.”

Some America leadership will go to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., for tower training, Miller said, and immediately before F-35B comes aboard the ship the whole air department will go to NAS North Island, Calif., for hands-on training with the new aircraft.

In addition to personnel training, Miller said the amphib community is still trying to refine its hearing protection strategy for flight deck personnel. During F-35B operational testing aboard USS Wasp (LHD-1), personnel wearing cranials with built-in headsets struggled to hear above the larger, louder F-35 jet engines. After learning that lesson on Wasp, Miller said the America crew last month received a shipment of new headsets that will become standard equipment. Much like pilot helmets, these new cranials have ear buds that go into the ear, along with over-the-ear protection, creating double hearing protection that still allows personnel to communicate on the flight deck.

The mini boss said the crew would undergo training with the new headsets before the start of F-35B tests, and leadership would keep an eye out for lessons learned related to that new gear.

USS Essex (LHD-2) is currently in its midlife maintenance availability and while in the shipyard will receive the required upgrades to operate F-35B. Miller said the air bosses and mini bosses for all the amphibious assault ships communicate through regular group emails and share lessons learned, and as the Wasp crew passed along information from its testing, so will the America crew help get Essex ready for JSF operations when the time comes.

Among the lessons America has already learned and incorporated is that the physical JSF modifications have made MV-22 Osprey operations more efficient as well, Miller explained.

To prepare for the F-35, which is heavier than the AV-8B Harrier it replaces and produces a lot of heat and downwash when it lands vertically, the back of the flight deck was ripped up, strengthened from underneath [perhaps that is true but unlikely given what we know already] and then put back together with a more heat-resistant non-skid coating, America commanding officer Capt. Michael Baze explained from the ship. That coating, called Thermion, is more expensive but lasts longer – and as a balance, Thermion was only used on the aft third of the deck for F-35B operations and near several landing spots where an Osprey’s right nacelle would be pointed downward at the deck.

Miller said the Thermion provides some benefit in the four landing spots where it was applied, but due to the extreme heat coming from the nacelles, Ospreys are still limited in how long they can keep the engines on and the nacelles vertical because the deck wasn’t strengthened from underneath and therefore the heat can still do damage in the long run.

On the back third of the deck, though, Osprey operations are virtually unlimited. Miller described a recent situation in which an Osprey “was about to launch, the nacelles were fully up, they’re not chocked and chained, and things just dragged out” due to a helicopter in need of maintenance right in front of the V-22. “The nacelles were vertically up for 15 or 20 minutes, and normally that would have just destroyed the non-skid, it probably would have just come up with a spatula. But the new (Thermion) held up, it held up beautifully.”

Miller said America has more landing spots with the Thermion coating than does Wasp, which has increased operational flexibility and efficiency on the ship.

Photo: "An MV-22 Osprey lands on amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) during the Rim of the Pacific 2016 exercise in Hawaii on July 15, 2016. America’s flight deck was not only strengthened for Joint Strike Fighter operations, but patches of Thermion non-skid material were added near landing spots to protect against the heat from the V-22 nacelles as the aircraft lands. USNI News photo." https://i0.wp.com/news.usni.org/wp-cont ... 08/v22.jpg


Source: https://news.usni.org/2016/08/29/americ ... -this-fall
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sferrin

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Unread post29 Aug 2016, 20:14

"The plan is to be able to operate in conditions up to sea state six, equivalent to wave heights of 13-20 ft." :shock:

Hope we get to see video of that.
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Unread post29 Aug 2016, 21:54

The DT-3 trials have been timed so that the test team can take advantage of rougher seas several hundred miles off the Pacific West Coast to test the aircraft’s ability to operate onto the deck in high-sea states.
The plan is to be able to operate in conditions up to sea state six, equivalent to wave heights of 13-20 ft.
The DT-3 tests will involve several two instrumented aircraft, likely BF-5 and either BF-1 or 4.


This sounds like Bishop rock off the Pacific coast. 50+ foot swells there I think..
Its near Cortes bank off the San Diego coast. If Im not mistake thec U.S.S. enterprise struck the under sea mount before. And could have sank.
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Unread post29 Aug 2016, 22:59

jessmo111 wrote:The DT-3 trials have been timed so that the test team can take advantage of rougher seas several hundred miles off the Pacific West Coast to test the aircraft’s ability to operate onto the deck in high-sea states.
The plan is to be able to operate in conditions up to sea state six, equivalent to wave heights of 13-20 ft.
The DT-3 tests will involve several two instrumented aircraft, likely BF-5 and either BF-1 or 4.


This sounds like Bishop rock off the Pacific coast. 50+ foot swells there I think..
Its near Cortes bank off the San Diego coast. If Im not mistake thec U.S.S. enterprise struck the under sea mount before. And could have sank.


Any ship can sink. The Enterprise didn't.
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Unread post30 Aug 2016, 01:07

Its lost 60 feet of hull, and alot of stern.
Thank God for good trained damage controll.
Some Navies even with a ship that large would have lost. BTW that sea mount in 10km+ of solid rock. Its nasty.
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Unread post30 Aug 2016, 01:13

jessmo111 wrote:Its lost 60 feet of hull, and alot of stern.
Thank God for good trained damage controll.
Some Navies even with a ship that large would have lost. BTW that sea mount in 10km+ of solid rock. Its nasty.


I remember it did leave a mark;

On 2 November 1985 the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise struck the Cortes Bank reef about one mile east of Bishop Rock during exercises, putting a 40-foot (12 m) gash in her outer hull on the port (left) side, and damaged 3 of 4 propellers. She continued operations then went into dry dock at Hunter's Point Shipyard in San Francisco for repairs.

:shock:
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Unread post30 Aug 2016, 02:50

neptune wrote:
jessmo111 wrote:Its lost 60 feet of hull, and alot of stern.
Thank God for good trained damage controll.
Some Navies even with a ship that large would have lost. BTW that sea mount in 10km+ of solid rock. Its nasty.


I remember it did leave a mark;

On 2 November 1985 the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise struck the Cortes Bank reef about one mile east of Bishop Rock during exercises, putting a 40-foot (12 m) gash in her outer hull on the port (left) side, and damaged 3 of 4 propellers. She continued operations then went into dry dock at Hunter's Point Shipyard in San Francisco for repairs.

:shock:


Between that and the bombs going off on deck, it sounds like a tough ship. Given that the ship yard is gone now I wonder what they'd do if a carrier had such an accident in that same location. Sounds like they'd be up sheet creek.
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Unread post30 Aug 2016, 02:52

... and the reef is still recovering... :D
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