UK MOD in a muddle over F-35C

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spazsinbad

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Unread post21 Mar 2020, 10:38

UK Declared F-35 Operational Despite Issues, Auditors Say [best read at source]
19 Mar 2020 Tony Osborne

"LONDON—The UK declared the F-35 operational even though the fleet was suffering from availability, infrastructure, logistics and security issues, auditors have revealed.

The UK National Audit Office (NAO) found that the December 2018 initial operating capability (IOC) from land bases was granted with 67 exceptions, with almost one-third of those still yet to be resolved more than a year later.

It is not clear on how many criteria IOC (Land) was judged, but the process is common practice, officials say, noting that waiting for all issues to be fully addressed before declaring the aircraft operational would “needlessly withhold” the capability from the front-line.... [more details best read at source]

...The NAO notes that 20 of the exemptions had still not been resolved as of February of this year, but also says the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy have made progress in the areas of training personnel and logistics. Aerospace Daily understands that of the 67 exemptions, only six now remain and will be resolved by year’s end.

The UK now has 15 F-35Bs based in the country flying with front-line unit 617 Sqdn. and with 207 Sqdn, a training unit. Since their arrival to the UK, the aircraft have been deployed to Cyprus and flown operational missions in the Middle East. They also recently took part in a Tier 1 Red Flag exercise with Five Eyes partners Australia and the U.S...."

Source: https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... ditors-say
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Unread post11 May 2020, 12:23

Interesting podcast, “For Flying Out Loud”, featuring esteemed test pilot Nath Gray, the first pilot to land and F-35 onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth.


https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/f ... 1510151685
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spazsinbad

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Unread post11 May 2020, 17:15

What a great story. Thanks very much for posting that. If anyone doubts the integrity of test pilots they ought to listen.
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weasel1962

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Unread post12 May 2020, 04:22

After reading the UK NAO report referenced above. Highlight below.

Aircraft and pilot resources are now focused on trials with UK aircraft carriers to achieve the IOC (Maritime) milestone in December 2020. The Department currently expects to deliver the promised F-35 FOC requirements by 2023.
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Unread post16 May 2020, 14:00

RAF Marham

"At 6:17pm on 2 April 2020, Wing Commander John Butcher [RAF] formally handed over command of the Dambusters to Commander Mark Sparrow [RN]. A very small but important parade took place as the command of 617 Squadron was handed over to a Royal Navy Officer for the first time in the Squadrons history. The change of command proceeded as planned, however, due to social distancing measures the rest of 617 Squadron could not take part in the ceremony....

...Commander Sparrow [RN] said:
“I am delighted to be commanding 617 Squadron and extremely proud to be the first Royal Navy Officer to be selected to the position in its illustrious history. The next two years will see the potent combination of Lightning and the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers become jointly operational. I look forward to us playing a key part in the generation of both the Lightning Force and Carrier Strike Group's capabilities.”

Source: https://www.facebook.com/RoyalAirForceM ... =3&theater
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Unread post09 Jun 2020, 19:59

https://twitter.com/NavyLookout/status/ ... 48/photo/1
Four 617 Squadron F-35 Jets landed on HMS Queen Elizabeth in the North Sea today 10 Jun 2020
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EaFgS1qXQAAqFiC?format=jpg
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4xF-35BsQE10jun2020.jpg
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Unread post10 Jun 2020, 22:46

UK embarks first operational F-35Bs in HMS Queen Elizabeth work-up
10 Jun 2020 Craig Hoyle

"...“The F-35 jets that landed on board today [09 Jun 2020] will be the same aircraft that will sail next year with the ship for her maiden Global Carrier Strike Group 21 deployment,” the navy says. “HMS Queen Elizabeth will now enter an intense period of flying,” the navy says. “The aim is to demonstrate that the jets can successfully defend the aircraft carrier by delivering combat air patrols… and being ready to take off at short notice.”...

...To run until later this month, this activity also will involve “complex training missions” with Leonardo Helicopters AW101 Merlin HM2 rotorcraft from the RN’s 820 NAS. 617 Sqn jets will redeploy aboard the 65,000t aircraft carrier later this year, as an RN task group participates in a multinational training exercise with NATO allies including the USA....

...Cirium fleets data shows that the UK has so far received 18 of the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B."

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 66.article
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zerion

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Unread post11 Jun 2020, 01:04

Last edited by zerion on 11 Jun 2020, 18:09, edited 1 time in total.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post11 Jun 2020, 01:35

Didn't see the 'short video' maybe an IE11 problem - perhaps duplicate URL used with video elsewhere? - meanwhile:
F-35 PILOT REVEALS EXPERIENCE OF FLYING FROM HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH
13 May 2020 RN PR

"An F-35 Lightning jet pilot has given unparalleled insight into the experience of flying the stealth fighter from the deck of one of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers. As HMS Queen Elizabeth continues to work towards her first operational deployment in 2021, more qualifying training for UK F35 Lightning fighter jet crews is in the offing.

The F-35s will be conducting practice manoeuvres from her decks, giving vital experience to the aircrews and ship’s company involved in air operations. Ahead of this next vital step, pilot Lieutenant Commander Stephen Collins, call sign Lothar, has revealed his experiences as a Royal Navy F-35 pilot in a fascinating interview that took place during the recent Westlant 19 deployment to the east coast of the United States.

In the interview, Lothar discusses:
Where he picked up his unique call sign from
The experience of take-off from HMS Queen Elizabeth
What it’s like to fly the F-35 Lighting jet
A look at dog fighting in the modern era
If it’s anything like Top Gun in real life
What it takes to be a pilot in the Royal Navy"

Source: https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-l ... -interview


F-35 Pilot | Royal Navy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQjwSmKOjQA

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Unread post25 Jun 2020, 04:40

UK may not upgrade all F-35Bs to Block 4 standard
24 Jun 2020 Gareth Jennings

"Answering a question in the House of Commons Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Jeremy Quin, said that, while the international Block 4 (full combat) upgrade has been costed into the UK’s procurement programme, the precise numbers of already-delivered jets to go through the retrofit process have not yet been decided.

“The F-35 Block 4 upgrade has been included in the UK F-35 programme budget since its inception. Decisions on the number of aircraft to be upgraded will be made on the basis of military capability requirements. The costs of the Block 4 upgrade are managed through the F-35 Joint Programme Office and, as one partner in the multinational F-35 programme, the UK is not in a position to share detailed cost information,” the minister said."

Source: https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news ... 4-standard
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Unread post26 Jun 2020, 13:48

Yeah saw this over at the War Zone this morning. Disappointing, as was the fact they're buying NO gun pods. Not even a few..

Which I understand probably won't mean much in most missions (although I'd think you'd want a FEW for CAS work). Anyway, more problematic is this Block 4 issue. Given the tiny size of their fleet, can they really afford to have less than block 4 capable based jets for training, testing etc??

It's not like the US where we'll soon have thousands...
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Unread post26 Jun 2020, 17:25

The National Audit Office has a report titled "Carrier Strike – Preparing for deployment". In it, we learn that F-35 flight hours have been cut by 20%. Bigger points are delays in Crowsnest, attributed to Thales, and the failure to buy new solid stores replenishment ships. There are also no funds for a CV-22 type airborne replenishment capability.

https://www.nao.org.uk/report/carrier-s ... t/?slide=1
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marauder2048

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Unread post26 Jun 2020, 19:27

mixelflick wrote:Yeah saw this over at the War Zone this morning. Disappointing, as was the fact they're buying NO gun pods. Not even a few..

Which I understand probably won't mean much in most missions (although I'd think you'd want a FEW for CAS work). Anyway, more problematic is this Block 4 issue. Given the tiny size of their fleet, can they really afford to have less than block 4 capable based jets for training, testing etc??

It's not like the US where we'll soon have thousands...


It's mostly horse$hit including his claimed upgrade costs.
The vast majority of the UK's delivered F-35Bs will be Block 4 anyway.

As to the gunpod, "someone" onboard the Queen Elizabeth class is going to be carrying one.


Federal Contract Opportunity for F-35B Gun Pod HMS QLZ N0001920200521. The NAICS Category is 336411 - Aircraft Manufacturing. Posted May 21, 2020. Due Jun 22, 2020. Posted by the Naval Air Warfare Center (DOD - Navy - NAVAIR). The work will be performed at Fort Worth, TX 76101, USA
Our Summary
The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) is contracting support for the production and delivery of airworthiness artifacts required to authorize United States Marine Corps F-35B shipboard operations with the GPU-9/A Missionized Gun Pod .


https://beta.sam.gov/opp/490387a798734fce827365d9142b112f/view?keywords=QLZ&sort=-relevance&index=opp&is_active=false&page=1
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Unread post02 Jul 2020, 23:04

From procedural to operational – Carrier Strike Group exercise Crimson Ocean
02 Jul 2020 SaveTheRoyalNavy

"On the 29th April HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed to conduct Operational Sea Training, this was followed by her first operational exercise. The ship returned to Portsmouth today and we spoke to senior officers about the experience and the future programme. Apart from a brief logistic stop, the ship was at sea for 67 days, covering 12,000 nautical miles and conducted a total of 1,610 aircraft launch and recoveries....

...At the same time, four Lightning II Jets and all 8 pilots of 617 Squadron joined the ship at sea for further carrier qualifications after a training package in simulators at RAF Marham. 617 is building up strength and additional pilots will join shortly on completion of training with 207 Squadron. Half the pilots are now night-qualified on the carrier and the rest will qualify during the forthcoming GroupEx in the Autumn.

Commodore Steve Moorehouse, COMUCSG said the exercise, that ran over two and a half weeks in the North Sea, “achieved everything and more we wanted”. The exercise saw the CSG moving on from what has mostly been procedural work until now, to operational missions helping the commanders learn more about the complexity and challenges involved. Primarily focussing on testing the ship and jets flying on operational missions, this included combat air patrols (CAP) and strikes on simulated targets ashore. The CAP were put up against high-quality opposition in the form of Typhoon jets. A full programme also involved Air-Air refuelling F-35s from the ship by a Voyager tanker and the first interaction by the carrier with an RAF Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft. In total, 99 sorties and 130 vertical landings were flown by the fixed-wing aircraft over the exercise period.

Commander of the Air Group, Cdr James Blackmore noted that the F-35 had proved very reliable and no planned sorties were missed. No weapons or ordnance was carried by aircraft on this occasion, although the ship’s Highly Mechanised Weapons Handling System was tested in simulation mode. The forthcoming GroupEx will see live weapons embarked and the ‘kill-chain’ fully tested and analysed from end-to-end....

...The core ship’s company of HMS Queen Elizabeth has now settled at 797 but for Crimson Ocean, embarked air group personnel and various specialists brought the total onboard up to around 1,100 people. In addition to aircrew, around 70 engineers and support staff from 617 Squadron were embarked. 617 is manned approximately 50/50 by RAF and RN personnel. HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Captian, Angus Essenigh said that “we don’t carry passengers” and everyone who joins the ship is expected to participate in cleaning and maintaining the ship as if they are part of the ship’s company. The RAF contingent reportedly enjoyed life at sea and morale was high and the ship provided the air group warm welcome. The deployment enjoyed very calm a-typical North Sea conditions for almost the entire time...."

Source: https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/from-p ... son-ocean/


F-35 flying operations from HMS Queen Elizabeth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXIEgSo-QYc

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Unread post07 Jul 2020, 23:06

Counting down to the UK Carrier Strike Group 2021 deployment
07 Jul 2020 SaveTheRoyalNavy

"...The September GroupEx will be a big step-up in complexity from the modest scale of the recent exercise Crimson Ocean, consisting of 10 days of work-up, followed by two weeks of ‘free play’ in combat scenarios. The plan is to have an air group consisting of 5 UK and 10 USMC F-35 jets, plus 6 Merlin helicopters. With 15 jets on board, this will be the largest embarkation of F-35s afloat in the world so far.

US Marine Corps F-35B aircraft and personnel from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMFA-211) will arrive at RAF Marham in the late summer for a period of quarantine and preparation before going to sea. The RN is keen to learn from the USMC who have considerable flying and sea-going experience with the F-35B. Captain Essenhigh said “I was fortunate enough to spend two years serving [on an exchange posting] with the US Navy and I’m keen to return their hospitality”. The Marine personnel who have already served onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth have fitted in very well and although the captain noted wryly they “love lifting lumps of metal, we will need to embark more gym equipment”.

During the summer dedicated USMC C2 and IT systems will be installed in the ship. Operating the same F-35B aircraft means there is commonality with the UK and spares, weapons and support can be shared.

For their part, the US Marines enjoy the high standard of accommodation on board the QNLZ, dedicated recreation areas and the option of a beer at the end of a busy day. HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first ship ever designed from the outset for F-35, in contrast to the assault ships of the US Navy which were designed in the era of the AV-8B Harrier and have more austere arrangements for the crew. Onboard the US assault ships it is the helicopters that have priority over jets whereas the jets are the primary armament of the British carrier.

Exercise Joint Warrior will be followed by exercise Crimson Warrior, a flying exercise based at RAF Marham which will see USMC and UK Lightning jets conduct synthetic live combat training together. RN helicopters will also participate in this land-based exercise as the ‘CV Wing’ works up more complex flying scenarios....

...2021
At the start of 2021 personnel from the CSG staff and ships warfare teams will undergo synthetic training at the Maritime Composite Training Facility (MCTS) at HMS Collingwood. In March the complete CSG will put to sea for a final 3-4 week certification exercise (CertEx) as part of Joint Warrior (JW211). This will include both Type 45 destroyers and both Type 23 frigates which are programmed to join the May deployment.

Under current plans, HMS Queen Elizabeth will deploy in May 2021 with a submarine, HMS Diamond, HMS Defender, HMS Kent and HMS Richmond supported by RFA Fort Victoria and a Tide-class tanker. Planning for the air group continues to evolve and should consist of 8 UK and 6 USMC F-35s and 9 Merlins Mk2s of 820 Squadron...." [more about others at URL]

Source: https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/counti ... eployment/
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