UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

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spazsinbad

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Unread post09 Feb 2018, 09:04

Hangar first for HMS Queen Elizabeth as she weathers stormy seas in Biscay
08 Feb 2018 RN PR

"For the first time ever a giant RAF Chinook helicopter has been stowed in the hangar of a British aircraft carrier. With the nose protruding over the edge of one of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s two mighty aircraft lifts, the 99ft-long helicopter from RAF 7 Squadron was moved from the flight to the hangar deck. So large are the lifts and hangar spaces on the new Portsmouth-based warship that there’s no need even to fold the rotors....

...The painstaking process to bring the Chinooks in for the very first time took almost two hours, with the nosecone hanging precariously over the aircraft lift (powerful enough to raise or lower two F-35B Lightning II jets or half the 700-strong ship’s company). With practice it will take a fraction of that time.

“Even though HMS Queen Elizabeth is the biggest ship the Royal Navy has operated, she still moves around in the seas especially with the swell and winds in the infamous Bay of Biscay,” explained Cdr David Scopes, head of the carrier’s air engineering department. “We have very precious aircraft onboard at the minute, packed with special equipment to take the readings we need during our flying trials, so we have to look after them.

“As well as our non-slip decks, the aircraft brakes are supplemented by chocks on the wheels and the use of lashings between strong points on the aircraft and the deck, in carefully-calculated patterns to make sure they don’t move around and get damaged. We do this to all equipment in the hangar as we don’t want any of that being loose and hitting the aircraft either.”

The ship has faced her toughest conditions yet, transiting through the notoriously stormy conditions of the Bay of Biscay. The feared waters whipped up to a Sea State 7 as the 65,000-tonne ship cut through, with waves of six to nine metres or more at times. The transit was watched carefully inside the ship by engineers and ship’s company to see how she handled.

“These conditions are useful for us to see how the ship handles, and to see if there are any structural issues,” said Scott Maclaren, Senior Sea Trials Manager. “We look at whether things still work as they did before, also, how does it affect the crew? Bad weather can cause seasickness and fatigue, so we’re looking at how the human factor might be impacted. She’s a big ship though and doesn’t actually move too much. Her stability will only increase as more personnel and equipment is embarked”...."

Source: https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-l ... -qe-hangar
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post09 Feb 2018, 09:30

Investing in those Chinook blade-fold kits might be worthwhile....
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Unread post10 Feb 2018, 06:44

Where's WALLY? Where the ROCK APES live: http://images.europasur.es/2018/02/09/g ... 67x375.jpg
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Unread post12 Feb 2018, 16:54

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Unread post21 Feb 2018, 11:12

Lightning Force takes shape [5 page PDF of entire article attached below]
March 2018 Alan Warnes

"There is now real momentum behind the UK’s F-35 Lightning programme and 2018 will see further key milestones. Alan Warnes spoke with the Lightning Force commander about a pivotal year for the fifth-generation fighter....

...Both runways are being modernised, with 90% of the surfaces being resurfaced or replaced. Air Cdre Bradshaw, a former Harrier GR9 pilot, continued: “The 6,000ft secondary runway will be ready for use by the spring, suitably constructed to take a battering from the F-35’s jet pipes when the pilots are sharpening their short-field practice. We can then shut down the longer 9,000ft runway so it can be modernised. Three concrete landing pads will also be in place by the end of the year.”

In addition to the airfield work, new constructions in the No 617 Squadron area and Integrated Training Centre (ITC) should be completed later this year, as will the Lightning HQ and Final Finish Facility (FFF). The No 207 Squadron Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) facilities are a little further behind completion. They are located next to the ITC so that students at the OCU won’t have to travel too far to do their simulator/synthetics work....

...One of the nuances of working with VMFAT-501 at Beaufort is that the Lightning Force functions according to US Marine Corps procedures, but over at Edwards processes are being run ‘the UK way’. As a result, engineers are being sent to the California base before returning to the detachment at Beaufort and then heading to Marham....

...Carrier trials
As well as No 617 Squadron working up towards IOC Land, and No 17(R) Squadron involved in operational test of the weapons, there is the milestone of first-of- class flight trials aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

This is expected to start in the autumn, off the US northeast coast. It is being conducted by test and evaluation specialists such as Sqn Ldr Andy Edgell, an RAF test pilot with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, home to the F-35B Integrated Test Force (ITF). Edgell, who was in London during mid-January for a Lockheed Martin F-35 cockpit demonstrator event, was also an RAF Harrier GR9 pilot until Joint Force Harrier disbanded in 2010.

His Harrier days saw him serve with No IV (Army Cooperation) Squadron and 800 NAS at RAF Cottesmore, Rutland, where he worked with many of the key players now in the Lightning programme.

In 2012 Sqn Ldr Edgell qualified with the US Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) at Pax River and he’s been serving with VX-23 since 2013. In theory, he should have finished his posting to the unit in 2016, but he stayed on.

“I embarked on the USS America in 2016, to do the final developmental test phase of the F-35B at sea. As the guy with embarked F-35B experience, it made sense to stay on but focusing on the first-of- class flight trials on Queen Elizabeth Carrier [QEC].”

If he had a formal title it would be MOD Test Pilot for First-of- Class QEC Test Trials. Two other British military test pilots – Cdr Nathan Gray and Sqn Ldr Ben Hullah – work with him, plus ten military maintainers.

Sqn Ldr Edgell added: “We are all gearing up towards the trials in the autumn. It is under-appreciated by many that there is a lot of work done by a small team, many of them working with BAE Systems, who are contributing to the tests. I speak to them weekly, if not daily.”

BAE Systems plays a key role in the design, development and manufacture of both the aircraft and the aircraft carrier, and at the same time leads the work to ensure both are integrated seamlessly for the UK military. The trials will continue to inform the F-35 programme and its engineers on both sides of the Atlantic. These include flight test engineers based in the US and BAE engineers at Warton, Lancashire, who are developing and testing the latest technologies for the aircraft.

BAE Systems’ David Atkinson, an engineer working on the aircraft to ship integration, who was also present at the F-35 cockpit demonstrator event, summed up his role as providing information to Sgn Ldr Edgell and his team to enable the F-35/Queen Elizabeth class carrier relationship to mature.

Of the trials, Atkinson told AFM: “They are going to open up the operating envelope of the aircraft. That will involve working with varying wind speed, direction and motion of the ship. We will use the information that we gain from the trials to feed into the aircraft’s release-to-service document.”

Source: AirForces Monthly Magazine March 2018 No.360
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RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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