Commander Naval Air Forces wants more F/A-18s

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SpudmanWP

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Unread post07 Mar 2018, 06:00

They are too busy prepping for Boeing interviews after retirement....
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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chucky2

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Unread post07 Mar 2018, 22:10

steve2267 wrote:Many comments complainingly asking why Navair just doesn't start buying F-35C's now, as it is ready NOW (i.e. LM can produce them NOW), and stop sinking $$ into F/A-18E/F Super Dupers.

Question: Is Navair ready for the F-35C NOW? If not, what is holding it up? Is it personnel training / standing up new squadrons or converting Hornet squadrons? Or are the boats not ready for the Sea Lightning for some reason? Is the switch to the CMV-22B for COD holding up the show? Or is Navair really that much in love with the Super Duper over the Lightning? Or is Navair practicing industrial base management by trying to ensure at least two airframers stay in business that can produce tactical combat aircraft?


This is what I don't really understand. It's not like the Navy exists in some knowledge vacuum where they can't see how F-35A and B, along with their C, development is going, and somehow aren't aware of when 3F would be ready, along with at least the first release of 4.x. At some point, someone in charge (POTUS, Congress, SecDev, whoever) should be mandating the Navy stop purchasing F-18 and instead start buying F-35C. Wait, scratch that..."...instead start buying F-35C in the largest numbers it can be ordered in." These F-35C can be staged shoreside and when a sufficient number of them exist along with their crews (pilots, maintenance, deck) are trained up, carriers can start being sent out with F-35 rather than F-18. I'd even go so far to say that when one carrier ends its tour and another takes its place, that other carrier can receive the firsts F-35 until sufficient F-35 are available where that doesn't happen any longer.

One of two things seem to be happening: Either F-35C has some serious issues that aren't being made public and that's why the Navy isn't really wanting it to happen at any speed, or, the Navy is addicted to F-18 and just doesn't care when they get F-35C. I mean, they're buying new SH...just...WTF...how does that even get approved???
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steve2267

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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 01:01

As I read your comments chucky2, it occurred to me that perhaps the reason the USN is so seemingly gung-ho on the Super Duper is because they have a strategy or plan going forward to have 2-1 Super Dupers to Lightnings for future carrier air wings. If their existing Super Dupers are falling apart from heavy usage (Afganistan, Iraq/Syria + tanking duties), then perhaps they need all these new F/A-18E/F's just to replace the worn out equipment and keep up with their plan? I would suggest that perhaps their 2:1 SH to Lightning ratio is in need of re-examining. This seems to make sense from a capability point of view, but perhaps doesn't make sense from a cost sustainment perspective.
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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marsavian

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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 01:41

Are they still not testing the F-35C for hard fixes like the outer wings to carry the Aim-9X and front wheel strut oscillation ? Plus the F-35C is considerably more expensive than the SH currently is to the Navy. In a non biased outsider's POV it seems the US Navy is maximizing its aircraft numbers while reducing the number of concurrent F-35s it will need to ultimately fix with its dual F-18/F-35 acquisition strategy.
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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 02:37

My theory (and one that was echoed in "The Tragedy of UCLASS"):

The Navy is not serious about the CVNs persisting in the A2/AD environment.

Not that the carriers are going to be sunk just that the Navy will perform a limited strike
using the small inventory of A2/AD-useful standoff weapons and then pull a Guadalcanal.

The tiny LRASM and AARGM-ER POR buy profiles (~100 and 200 AURs respectively) and the lack of
any concrete follow-up programs strongly suggest this. The belated (but otherwise good) decision on
MALD-N probably also reflects a realization that NGJ's host platform is not going to be survivable.

Further evidence for the theory is that many of the surface navy investment's are increasingly
premised on CVNs not being there (TERN, OTH weapons targeting facilitated by organic helicopters).

That FFG(X) has an enlarged AAW capability combined with the Navy's intense interest in at-sea
VLS reloading might also suggest a shift in A2/AD standoff strike to DDG VLS.


That explains the Navy's baffling decisions on UCLASS, F-35C, and other programmatic decisions e.g. why
OASuW Inc II was punted into oblivion.
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white_lightning35

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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 03:18

I might get some flak for this, but I don't feel confident for carriers in the future. They just have too many things going against them. They are just too expensive now, too big of a target, and too easy to hit(relatively). It's adapt or die, but I think that some are still clinging to them in part because of nostalgia, because they used to work in the past. Now, the carriers are saddled with unsurvivable aircraft, costs are ridiculously high, and are getting easier to take down by the day. I just don't think the path the navy is on right now is sustainable, survivable, or wise.
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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 03:50

ricnunes wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Couldn't read article.... thrust increase? Finally?!?


I would say that should be a must if the new version of the Super Hornet will always carry CFTs (plus that centerline EFT with the IRST).

However this is such a waste of money - The Navy should (only) procure F-35C instead.
This is like going back to the later part of 1950's and instead of simply procuring F-8 Crusaders and retiring the F-9F Panthers (which is what really happened) the US Navy would also procure new F-9F Panthers together with the F-8 Crusader. :roll:


It's like buying more P-51 Mustangs in 1950 instead of F-86 Sabre's!
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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 03:53

spazsinbad wrote:
Navy to scrap scores of fighter jets from its inventory [BEST READ IT ALL AT SOURCE]
06 Mar 2018 David B. Larter

"The Navy is moving to scrap almost 140 older Hornet fighters from its inventory and accelerate transition to the newer Super Hornet models in a bid to cut the costs of maintaining old aircraft that have seen hard use over two decades of continuous combat operations. The Navy projects it will recoup the better part of a billion dollars over the next five years, money used to fund other readiness initiatives both in the beleaguered Naval Aviation enterprise and elsewhere.

The plan hashed out in June is to strike F/A-18 A through D models for a total of 136 Hornets, 66 of which will be gone by the end of 2020.... The Navy thinks this is an opportunity to get some useable spare parts for the in-service jets and help the Marine Corps out by sending it the best of the remaining aircraft....

...The service has been slow to buy its F-35C, citing development issues...."

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2018/ ... inventory/


What source within the USN says they're reluctant to buy F-35C's due to "developmental issues"???? :doh:
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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 04:01

marsavian wrote:Are they still not testing the F-35C for hard fixes like the outer wings to carry the Aim-9X and front wheel strut oscillation ? Plus the F-35C is considerably more expensive than the SH currently is to the Navy. In a non biased outsider's POV it seems the US Navy is maximizing its aircraft numbers while reducing the number of concurrent F-35s it will need to ultimately fix with its dual F-18/F-35 acquisition strategy.



The USN will purchase small batches of F-35's over the next couple of years. Yet, plans on acquiring 24 aircraft each year from FY 2021 onward. Which, is enough to provide two squadrons to each CVW over the next decade. After that my guess is they will continue to acquire more F-35C's to replace the remaining Super Hornets.


Honestly, not really an issue...
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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 06:26

marsavian wrote:Are they still not testing the F-35C for hard fixes like the outer wings to carry the Aim-9X and front wheel strut oscillation ? Plus the F-35C is considerably more expensive than the SH currently is to the Navy. In a non biased outsider's POV it seems the US Navy is maximizing its aircraft numbers while reducing the number of concurrent F-35s it will need to ultimately fix with its dual F-18/F-35 acquisition strategy.

The fix for the F-35C nose wheel dampening during catapulting was fairly simple and has been tested adequately ashore and aboard CVNs. The F-35C outer wing structure has been redesigned/strengthened and the fix tested/incorporated.

Yes it seems replacing aircraft can be complicated according to this latest USAF HASC House Armed Services Committee dialog dated 07 Mar 2018. Perhaps the USN has a similar problem to solve? They need to explain otherwise theory reigns. Perhaps an USN Admirable will do so to the HASC tomorrow?
Lieutenant General Jerry D. Harris Jr., USAF; Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements; Headquarters U.S. Air Force HASC 07 Mar 2018
"...F-35A PROCUREMENT IN THE FUTURE
The F-35A acquisition schedule makes the F-35 a critical component of the Air Force long-term fighter force. Currently, the Air Force plans to procure forty-eight F-35As annually and increase our procurement to fifty-four over the Future Years Defense Program or FYDP for fiscal years 2019-2023. Accelerating the procurement rate prior to the development of Block 4 adds overall cost to the program. If we were to procure at higher than planned rates inside the FYDP, the Air Force would have to retrofit aircraft already delivered to the fleet with Block 4 hardware and software modifications. Once Block 4 delivers near the end of the FYDP, we will examine the option of accelerating the F-35A program above the current procurement rate to meet the 5th Generation requirements necessary to balance the Air Force ability to fulfill national security objectives....

...The Air Force is placing great importance on the hardware upgrade planned as Technical Refresh 3. Technical Refresh 3 adds an improved integrated core processor, an improved panoramic cockpit display, and a more capable aircraft memory system...." http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS25/ ... 180307.pdf (100Kb)
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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 07:57

marauder2048 wrote:The Navy is not serious about the CVNs persisting in the A2/AD environment.

Not that the carriers are going to be sunk just that the Navy will perform a limited strike
using the small inventory of A2/AD-useful standoff weapons and then pull a Guadalcanal.

The tiny LRASM and AARGM-ER POR buy profiles (~100 and 200 AURs respectively) and the lack of
any concrete follow-up programs strongly suggest this. The belated (but otherwise good) decision on
MALD-N probably also reflects a realization that NGJ's host platform is not going to be survivable.

Further evidence for the theory is that many of the surface navy investment's are increasingly
premised on CVNs not being there (TERN, OTH weapons targeting facilitated by organic helicopters).


Makes sense to be in standoff/standby role, awaiting LO effects to accrue, and threats to decrease before moving closer.

As for LRASM, it's an antiship weapon on USAF B1-B, as that will work with BAMS MQs, to clear the ocean and littorals, so less LRASM are needed in the fleet. JSOW cleans up the rest.

Plus AARGM-ER is for killing high-end systems and there aren't that many of them. Updated AARGM for everything else.

I don't think it implies ajything for NGJ support vulnerability. They are going with CFTs to increase its reach and loiter.

Seems to me you want protected P8 and MQs in first to kill subs. Plus hammer away with B-52 ALCMs as well, as DDGs move in to kill subs and make strikes - all with air cover support.

Makes sense to hang back and do that.

Would work much better though with more F-35C, sooner.
Last edited by element1loop on 08 Mar 2018, 08:13, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 07:58

I'm gobsmacked - the F-35C is just 'being tested' now? WTF. Perhaps I'm too old for all of this reporter/USN folderol. :doh:
Lawmakers Quiz Military Aviation Leadership About F-35 Costs
07 Mar 2018 Ben Werner

"...Sen. Roger Wicker, (R-Miss.), asked on Tuesday whether the program is worth the wait and cost. “Looking back knowing what you know, was it a good idea?” Wicker asked.

“Yes sir, we need that capability. We absolutely need that capability,” Grosklags said. [ Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags, the Navy’s commander of Naval Air Systems Command] “We needed that capability ten years ago, we still need it today. But we needed it ten years ago. It’s disappointing it’s taken so long to get it to the fleet.” As of now, the Navy is on track for the F-35C to be tested later this year and early in 2019, Grosklags said, with initial operational capability to be achieved before a planned Fiscal Year 2021 deployment."

Source: https://news.usni.org/2018/03/07/lawmak ... f-35-costs
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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 15:05

element1loop wrote:Makes sense to be in standoff/standby role, awaiting LO effects to accrue, and threats to decrease before moving closer.

As for LRASM, it's an antiship weapon on USAF B1-B, as that will work with BAMS MQs, to clear the ocean and littorals, so less LRASM are needed in the fleet. JSOW cleans up the rest.

...

Seems to me you want protected P8 and MQs in first to kill subs. Plus hammer away with B-52 ALCMs as well, as DDGs move in to kill subs and make strikes - all with air cover support.

Makes sense to hang back and do that.

Would work much better though with more F-35C, sooner.


The recurring them of hang back and let land-based or surface/sub-surface assets do their work is
pretty much the Guadalcanal scenario mentioned above.

It's also why the Marines have aviation-focused LHAs which logically would and should be the basis
for the CVL/CVM/CV-LX class that all of the Navy's future fleet studies told it it should build.

And this class would be very well suited for providing air cover for the other assets.

AFAIK, the Navy has done nothing on this front.
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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 15:53

Another reason for USN F-35C 'heel draggin' could well be this SOFTWARE support/logistics problem interface with ALIS?
U.S. Navy vexed by lack of access to F-35 logistics coding
08 Mar 2018 Garrett Reim

"The U.S. Navy remains frustrated by its inability to connect the F-35’s logistics software with the other logistics software programs it uses. Efforts to integrate the F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) with the Navy’s other internal logistics systems is thwarted by developer Lockheed Martin’s insistence that the software code is proprietary, said Vice Admiral Paul Grosklags in a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Navy and Marine Corps Aviation Programs on 6 March....

...The issue is contractual in nature. It is being taken up with Lockheed Martin by Vice Admiral Mathias Winter, head of the F-35 joint program office, said Grosklags. The Navy could not provide a timeline for a fix, he told the Senate committee.

Grosklags said software issues were the Achilles’ heel of the F-35 program. “Quite honestly, the plans for follow-on development and this six month period of software releases will not be possible without the government getting additional insight from Lockheed Martin into the software development,” he said. “It’s not just about the sustainment (software). It’s about our ability to turn it, test it, and deploy it to the fleet. If we do not have that insight, it will not work.”"

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... cs-446566/
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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 17:08

How could any of this come as a surprise to the Navy?

Rightly or wrongly, Lockheed's position on software data rights for ALIS has been the same for ages.

I suspect the reality is that Lockheed itself doesn't own certain chunks of ALIS itself.
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