First Marine Corps Squadron Deploys to Japan

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

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Unread post02 Feb 2017, 23:53

SpudmanWP wrote:On a related note.. How did the Harriers get to Japan?


Probably on a boat, since it'd be too hard to keep them on a tanker for the whole flight.

After all, they did practice landing on a cargo ship before...

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SpudmanWP

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Unread post03 Feb 2017, 00:11

Lol.. Still better than ditching :doh:
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Unread post03 Feb 2017, 00:14

SpudmanWP wrote:No clue but I assume it has something to do with the need to have enough fuel at any point to reach a divert airfield.

That way if there is a problem with the refueler then the F-35B can reach an airfield on what fuel it still has.

With a range of around 900nm, if you want to keep enough gas in the -B so it can divert somewhere, I am guessing you are going to tank it every 450nm or so. A KC-10 can, I think, re-fuel two (maybe three) hose-and-drogue fighters at a time. How much time would it take to transfer ~6500 lbs of gas to each F-35B? You're probably capable of cruising at 450kts, so that would suggest each F-35B needs to tank once per hour. So how long goes it take to get that gas? 5 minutes? 10? 20? If it takes ~20 minutes to transfer 6500lb of fuel via hose-and-drogue, then no sooner are you done taking 10 airplanes (from one tanker) than you need to start tanking the first plane after the first last one is done. So you would be constantly tanking. And your trip speed, would then be restricted to your IFR airspeed. What is that? 250kts? 300? 350?

If, on the other hand, you could tank all your aircraft once every hour, and, say, I dunno, get it over in 10 minutes, then you could cruise @ 450kts for ~50min to an hour, then slow down and tank everyone up again.

Unless you spread tankers out across the Pacific every 450nm in holding patterns... and the -B's just flew from one gas-station-in-the-sky to the next.

I suspect the key might be ensuring a good tanker-fighter ratio of maybe 3-4 Killer Bees for every tanker. Each tanker tanks up its flock once per hour, then they accelerate to cruise for an hour, then back down to IFR speed.

But I don't know. This is all conjecture off the top of my head.

SpudmanWP wrote:On a related note.. How did the Harriers get to Japan?

I'll guess by boat.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post03 Feb 2017, 00:41

Maybe do what geese do and avail of slipstreaming benefits.
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Unread post03 Feb 2017, 00:52

KC-10 Extender
October 1, 2003

The KC-10's boom operator controls refueling operations through a digital, fly-by wire system. Sitting in the rear of the aircraft, the operator can see the receiver aircraft through a wide window. During boom refueling operations, fuel is transferred to the receiver at a maximum rate of 1,100 gallons (4,180 liters) per minute; the hose and drogue refueling maximum rate is 470 gallons (1,786 liters) per minute. The automatic load alleviation and independent disconnect systems greatly enhance safety and facilitate air refueling. The KC-10 can be air-refueled by a KC-135 or another KC-10A to increase its delivery range.

http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Display/tabid/224/Article/104520/kc-10-extender.aspx


I found an interesting short paper on IFR, (attached below):

Congressional Research Service
Air Force Aerial Refueling Methods: Flying Boom versus Hose-and-Drogue

Christopher Bolkcom, Updated June 5, 2006

<...snip...>

A single flying boom can transfer fuel at approximately 6,000 lbs per minute. A single hose-and-drogue can transfer between 1,500 and 2,000 lbs of fuel per minute. Unlike bombers and other large aircraft, however, fighter aircraft cannot accept fuel at the boom’s maximum rate. (Today’s fighter aircraft can accept fuel at 1,000 to 3,000 lbs per minute whether from the boom or from the hose-and-drogue.)(2) Thus, the flying boom’s primary advantage over the hose-and-drogue system is lost when refueling fighter aircraft. (p. CRS-2)

<...snip...>

These reductions would result from the increased speed with which a multipoint hose-and-drogue-equipped aircraft could refuel multiple-aircraft strike packages. The following evaluation illustrates how increasing the speed with which combat aircraft are refueled could translate into increased efficiency and potentially lead to reduced tanker force structure and cost savings:
by refueling two fighters simultaneously, the time that the fighters spend refueling can be reduced by approximately 75 percent. This reduced refueling time, in turn, would enable the tanker to have considerably more fuel available to off-load to other receivers....The less fuel burned by either the tanker or the receivers during aerial
contact, the more that is available to conduct the fighter mission. At fighter refueling speeds, a KC-135A burns something in excess of 200 pounds per minute. Reducing the air refueling time from 40 minutes to 10 minutes (75 percent) makes approximately 6,000 pounds of additional fuel available....the fuel savings in a four-tanker formation could be enough to refuel an extra flight of four fighters or allow the same mission to be accomplished with one less tanker.

(p. CRS-7)

<...snip...>

Source: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL32910.pdf
RL32910.pdf
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Has anyone seen published numbers for F-35B/C in-flight refueling fuel transfer rate numbers? (And while on the topic, for the F-35A?)

I'm going to guess that it will take on the order of 3-4 minutes for an F-35B to take on 6500lbs (50%) fuel. Leaving 1-2 minutes to move-in / hookup / unhook / move-out, I am estimating it takes 5 minutes per F-35B.

Some KC-10s can re-fuel two hose-and-drogue at a time, with wingtip mounted refueling pods called Multi Point Refueling System (MPRS) kits. Some KC-10s can only do one at a time. I do not know if the KC-10s with the MPRS kits can also install a hose-and-drogue on their boom, or adjacent to the boom. For purposes of this back-of-the-napkin analysis, I am going to say the KC-10 could refuel two F-35Bs at a time. Each -B takes 5 minutes. So it will take 25 minutes for one KC-10 to refuel ten Killer Bees. I am guessing IFR speed with hose-and-drogue to be 250-300 knots. Allowing five minutes for speeding up / slowing down to/from cruise speed (450 knots?), that means with one KC-10, you can cruise for half an hour out of every hour, and the other half of that hour is spent refueling everybody. Not a terribly efficient way to cross the big lake off the left coast.

With two KC-10s, five F-35Bs each, you would be able to cruise for about 45 minutes out of the hour, and spend 15 minutes refueling, roughly speaking.

So again, it would seem having the correct ratio of tankers to fighters, and that each tanker can tank two fighters at a time, would be the key to as efficient a trans-Pacific crossing as possible.

Either that or everyone VL on a passing freighter, drink pina coladas and play volleyball on deck while it takes the boat ~10 days to cross. Either way you get their in about the same time. Falsifying the log book for that lost flying time could bite you in the @ss later, though... :devil:
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post03 Feb 2017, 04:21

I guess I`ll weigh in with some comment and an anecdote :D

The timing and number of refuelings of fighters over the ocean varies due to many many things, and is not the same as planned ... ever, nor mission to mission. Circumstances change.

When we would drag chicks across the Pacific, they would schedule "top offs" depending on how far out we were from "alternates". They would call us and say, "for our next diversion option we need to top off right away." I usually could tell the urgency based on the "mike hyperventilaton sounds" created in their cockpit from being really really really far from land. :D

On one mission dragging Phantoms home, between Hawaii and the west coast, we took a southerly detour due to weather, and if you check a map that`s not the safest option for diversions. Long story short, they landed near the coast on a Marine runway (El Toro? maybe) since they were getting nervous about making it inland to George AFB. We flew pretty close to ground effect over Dockweiler Beach into LAX and landed with "fuel in the pipes," so that pretty much confirmed we would`t have made it to March AFB. Sometimes tankers declare fuel emergencies too ... ( shoulda just made one of the chicks punch out :) )

There`s a reason you keep tanks full over the ocean, - and when the chicks squeak they`re thirsty, sometimes you have to say, "We need to get home too!" :shock: :shock: :shock:

In galaxies far away, and long ago,
BP
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steve2267

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Unread post03 Feb 2017, 05:09

BP, when dragging chicks across the Pacific, what was your typical cruise speed? When the chicks got thirsty, could you give 'em gas @ cruise, or did you have to slow down? If slowed down, @ what speed would you dispense gas?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post03 Feb 2017, 08:30

steve2267 wrote:BP, when dragging chicks across the Pacific, what was your typical cruise speed? When the chicks got thirsty, could you give 'em gas @ cruise, or did you have to slow down? If slowed down, @ what speed would you dispense gas?


I don`t recall our speeds with the F-4s, but cruise speeds were high for both of us. Now with the Habu`s (SR-71) we had real problems speeding up to refuel them. It was a dance as they got heavier, and encouraged us to pick it up a bit, which we could only barely do going downhill a bit as we simultaneously got lighter. I`m sure we were faster than a KC130`s top speed though.

We have some old F-4 guys here that might remember better than me, since as the dedicated Habu Tanker Squadrons, we refueled almost everything when not deployed. B-1A`s, Iranian F-14`s, etc. etc. (but surprisingly very few B-52`s since they had their own tankers.) So all the speeds were different. As an aside it was always a pain for the ground crews on those sorties since they had to purge and clean the "dirty JP-4/5" out of the JP-7 tanks when we were done. (or really bad things could happen to the Habus the next day.)

Anyway they were all different and the 71s were "go faster" so I don`t remember too many speeds beyond when I needed to know. Maybe a former F-4 guy could tell you.

BP

PS Wiki lists the KC135R/T s cruise at 460 knots with the CFM fans, I think the J57 A/Qs cruised a bit more than that. F-4s they list at 500 kt cruise and we could have gotten close to that as we got lighter. You sort of looked for a sweet spot that all the engines and fuel going across the ocean maxed out. We might be burning a little more than optimum cruise, but when it`s offloaded into the J-79s, they would use less, add it up, spin the calculator a bit and if you get the right answer, they make it to El Toro and you land fuel in the pipes at LAX. I`m guessing we cruised closer to 500kts than 460kts but heh, my memory is shakey in my old age.

PPS "(but surprisingly very few B-52`s since they had their own tankers.)" Thinking back I believe the only B-52 I refueled after Castle, (type conversion training) was out of Guam during the Mayaguez incident, which was the only day I ever served alert in SAC. I think serving as SAC aircrew with only one day of alert might be a record. Alert was hard to dodge in those days. You had to be over the Indian Ocean all the time to avoid it, and I ended up getting caught that one day even there.
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 01:06

F-35B Lightning II Conducts First Flight Operations around Okinawa

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP BUTLER, Okinawa, Japan -- F-35B Lightning II aircraft belonging to Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing began conducting regularly scheduled training near Okinawa this week.

The F-35B will operate on a transient basis out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and Kadena Air Base, much like the F/A-18 and AV-8B that it is replacing. Due to operational security, we do not discuss detailed flight information, such as time and location.

The Marine Corps is dedicated to supporting the U.S.-Japan alliance with the most advanced aircraft platforms in our inventory. The F-35B represents the future of Marine Corps tactical aviation and incorporates the mission capabilities of the current Marine Corps platforms it is replacing-the AV-8B Harrier, F/A-18 Hornet, and EA-6B Prowler-within a single airframe. In addition to its short takeoff and vertical landing capability, the F-35B's unique combination of stealth, cutting-edge radar, sensor technology, and electronic warfare systems bring all of the access and lethality capabilities of a fifth-generation fighter.

http://www.pacom.mil/Media/News/News-Ar ... d-okinawa/

You can be sure they are working with the AESA Eagles out of Kadena. Those are the most technologically advanced Eagles in US inventory flown by the most shit-hot pilots. Those Eagle AESA might be the eyes for F-35s to stay eletronically silent while closing in for the kill.
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 06:37

Davis: Marine Corps Aviation Recovering from Readiness Shortfall
08 Feb 2017 RICHARD R. BURGESS

"...[Lt.Gen USMC 'Dog'] Davis praised the F-35 Lightning II strike fighter and noted that the first operational squadron, VMFA-121, has maintained high readiness metrics — between 70 and 90 percent — since it deployed to Japan last month.

“All those jets stayed up the entire time” during their transit to Japan via Alaska, he said.

“I’m very confident of the [F-35’s] ability to provide close air support,” he said, noting the aircraft’s radar’s capability to see through the clouds, along with the coming streaming video and the Small-Diameter Bomb II, of which the F-35B will carry eight when the Block 4.1 software is installed...."

Source: http://seapowermagazine.org/stories/20170208-davis.html
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Unread post12 Feb 2017, 16:43

Salute!

WoW! Some great memories, Blind.

The cruise speeds for the "group gagle" modes were mostly a function of the KC-135's I was used to. Figure 0.8 M or possibly 0.85 max. For a fairly clean Double Ugly no big deal, although our Sluf needed a lower altitude than the Double Uglies. Some numbers I seem to recall were like 300 KIAS, and seems 450 - 480 KTAS worked..

The boom is absolutely, positively faster than the drogue. So the comment by CRS that the transfer rates were a wash is not accurate.

Some of us tried the vortex and it decreased the required power. However, you had to be way back to avoid the infamous B-70 fiasco. System was to slowly slide in co-altitude or a bit high, and if you did it right then you would have to hold opposite aileron and pull back power.

I imagine that the Stubby would have range figures much better than the Sluf with external tanks, so I can't see more than 4 top-offs per leg, possibly just 3. For the first real deployment, the 2nd Air Delivery folks grossly over estimated our fuel consumption and range. So we could not take on the calculated amount of gas at the time specified. So one wise a$$ told the tanker he did not want any more, but the tanker flotilla commander insisted he take the fragged amount. Wise guy said he would have to dump gas to make room and big commander still did not believe, so wise guy started dumpng while fuel was still being dispensed.. That night we agreed to use the Sluf numbers and would let Big Bird know it was almost time to gas up, heh heh. Second interesting thing was the plane was so new, and our experience low, that we all had more refuelings by end of second day that we had up to then flying it locally.

Gums recalls and opines...
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Unread post13 Feb 2017, 00:37

steve2267 wrote:BP, when dragging chicks across the Pacific,... @ cruise, or did you have to slow down? If slowed down, @ what speed would you dispense gas?


Again I`m old and feebleminded but this should help you.

Topboom here has good info.
http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1024705

Our boom was rated at .95 Mach, and 335 KIAS at 30,000 is around .85/6 Mach? Fighters are as Gums says, circa 315 KIAS, so his 450-480 KTAS sounds about right. The Boom was always faster(flight speed and offloading rates) than the drogue even when slowing down to 270 ish KIAS for the Buffs.

I liked Topboom`s recalling the SR touching the burner on one engine, just a few knots above stall speed when heavy, and yelling at us to pick it up. Slow was not the problem... Faster! . Go faster! ... and generally we could.

Anyway think closer to 500 knots TAS not the 250 or whatever the CRS said. Time is money, and the beach is still a ways out there... boogie on.

Stealing from other memories and info,
BP

PS Topboom notes in a post in the thread that I was right, the A/Q`s (J-57) were faster than the R/T`s (CFM). I thought those Wiki speeds seemed slow. Pushing .95 Mach, 355 ish KIAS, or 582 KTAS at 30,000. (670 mph) sounds doable (downhill) in the KC-135Q. Good for 10,000 miles plus without offloads at high cruise speeds. Tankers weren`t the problem ... ( at least with the boom)
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Unread post21 Feb 2017, 21:44

A complete list of F-35Bs with their BuNo and modex currently at Iwakuni can be found here at Gonavy.jp:

http://www.gonavy.jp/usmc121.html
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 04:31

California Dreaming, a Reality Check and Trans-Pac
March 2017 Mark Ayton

"Mark Ayton reports on events in the F-35 Lightning II programme during early 2017...

...Trans-Pac
Over 5,500 miles from NAS Lemoore is Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. On January 18, the first two F-35Bs assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121) ‘Green Knights’ touched down at Iwakuni following a transpacific deployment from MCAS Yuma, Arizona. A further eight F-35Bs arrived at the Japanese base on January 19 (5) and January 24 (3). The first aircraft departed Yuma on January 9 bound for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska....

...By early February 2017, VMFA-121 commenced local training flights from Iwakuni. Over the coming months, VMFA-121 will receive six more F-35Bs direct from the Lockheed Martin-run Air Force Plant 4 at Fort Worth. The squadron’s ultimate fleet will comprise LRIP Lot 7, Lot 8 and Lot 9 aircraft configured with Block 2B S5.3 software first released to the fleet in May 2016. This software has proved to be stable and very reliable, presenting few glitches or post-flight maintenance write-ups of the aircraft’s mission systems. Consequently, all of the aircraft assigned to VMFA-121 are capable of countering any threat currently fielded in the Pacific theatre."

Source: AIR International Magazine March 2017 Vol.92 No.3

AS per post above: http://www.gonavy.jp/usmc121.html
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Unread post24 Apr 2018, 11:23

Tuesday, 24 April 2018:
F-35B.
USMC, based at MCAS Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

11:02, emergency landed, at Tsuiki AB, Fukuoka Prefecture.

After landing, it moved itself to apron.

Reported during flight to MCAS Iwakuni.

F-35 milestone: first time US military F-35 landed outside US military AB in Japan.

https://news.biglobe.ne.jp/domestic/042 ... 12343.html
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/kitakyushu/ ... 00364.html
https://this.kiji.is/361421885772153953
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/20180 ... ytop_main6
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