THE WAY AHEAD [UK Transition to F-35B Squadrons]

Unread postPosted: 31 Dec 2015, 22:20
by spazsinbad
Started to just excerpt the training info but then the other stuff glommed on so this is a mix of things for UK F-35B... The article also has mention of interoperability with Typhoon and Tornado and a lot of other stuff not seen below.
Jan 2016 AFM Alan Warnes

"During this whole period our people will be embedded within an F-35B Marine Corps unit based at MCAS Beaufort, VMFAT-501: this is effectively the US Marines Corps’ OCU. [The first frontline USMC unit, VMFA-121 at MCAS Yuma, reached IOC on July 31, 2015].

“From a personal perspective, I currently have two channels of core activity. One is US-based, focusing on MCAS Beaufort where 617 Squadron will plug into VMFAT-501 and develop together.

“In early 2018, after 617 Squadron has formally stood up as an autonomous unit, we begin to move out of VMFAT-501 to carry out independent ops at Beaufort for six months. We’re doing this to de-risk our programme, and if we discover any challenges during this initial period, ’501 are close enough to help.

“Basically, from January 2018 there will be a slow disengagement of 617 from 501 so that by June/July there’s a gap between the two units. Once we prove we can operate alone during the summer, we will bring 617 Squadron back to Marham.

“Then, from that summer through to December 2018, the squadron will establish itself in the UK and declare IOC. At that point, we’ll have an operational capability with the Lightning Force.”...

...The beauty of F-35 is it’s built as an interoperable product, and everyone who procures it also procures interoperability.

“That said, there are little bits that are different, as each of the nations has their own nuances on the jet. The UK is putting on its own weapons, which are different from the US. There will be challenges there – if we put our jets on a USMC carrier or vice versa – a bit of an interoperability issue, as you’ll have to ensure the weapons are in the right geolocations.”

Carrier work
“We have a formal statement of intent with the US for bringing our carrier strike capability back. It’s been running for quite a while now and is very successful – everything from British pilots flying Super Hornets to Royal Navy deck-handlers working on big deck carriers.

“I’m very excited about the new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers. She goes to sea next year, and by the end of 2018 we expect to have F-35s flying off her, doing the first-of-class flight trials and preparing for an IOC (Carrier Strike) declaration in 2020.

“I’ve been doing quite a bit of work with Commodore Jerry Kydd of late: he is re-establishing the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) battle staff capability within Navy Command, and already knows that he will be HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first captain, sailing her from Rosyth to Portsmouth. He’s very excited about that and rightly so.”

According to Air Cdre Smyth, the new carrier is “phenomenal”, with enormous potential for capability growth. “I for one cannot wait to see our RAF and RN teams back at sea in the very near future, projecting air power across the globe, just as we used to do with Joint Force Harrier. [In practice in past this worked sometimes with RAF reluctance often it seems]

“From 2018 to 2020 there are plans for a series of trials and tests at sea, all part of the process to properly clear the F-35B to operate from the ship. While that’s going on, 617 Squadron will be at RAF Marham, IOC will have been declared and the jet up to speed from an initial warfighting perspective – so the challenge will be coalescing all that together into the 2020 timescale.

“We’ll declare land-based capabilities in 2018, and then take a two-year period to build up to declaring the same capability from the carrier.”

Reinvesting experience
“In due course, the Lightning Force Commander’s role will be to generate and deliver the Lightning capability, ensuring that the Force is able to operate from land or sea.

“In the meantime I’m working hard to establish all the required processes within HQ Air Command, so that they are normalised and in place for when the squadron stands up.

“There’s also a lot of work ongoing at present to ensure we are coherent with the Air Capabilities [department] and the Lightning Project Team – there’s much more to delivering an air system than simply buying and delivering the jets.

“And this air system is unique for UK since it will be our first stealthy aircraft and our first fifth-generation capability – ensuring the whole of UK Defence understands what the F-35 can do for it is an ongoing, seemingly endless, task. The coherency part is really quite key, and we’re putting a lot of effort into it.

“The organisation line of development is owned and driven by Lightning Force HQ, with the RAF and RN very open to us getting experienced personnel back into this aircraft.

“We’re reinvesting all our experience where possible. Squadron Leader Hugh Nichols is currently our sole UK pilot within VMFT-501, but he will be joined very shortly by three new British pilots: Lt Rich Pavie from the RN, who has just come from flying Super Hornets; Lt Cdr Adam ‘Hoggy’ Hogg, an ex-Harrier QWI and F-35 Requirements Manager; and Sqn Ldr Nev Kingdon, who has just finished a tour working within the Lightning team at High Wycombe.

“We have another pilot flowing through ’501 at present, who was recently on exchange with a USAF F-22 Raptor unit – he is posted to 17(R) Sqn to become an operational test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base and will undoubtedly bring some excellent lessons to our OT team, learned from his Raptor experience.

“In parallel, we have people with the USMC flying AV-8Bs who will eventually go to F-35. There’s a whole long-lead skills programme to ensure we keep qualifications and experience going until we can reconstitute our carrier capability.

“We might not have done carrier work for a while, but we’re employing people sensibly in the interim to form a good solid team for when we step back into this game at the end of 2018.

“So, looking forward, we’ll bring the bulk of our F-35Bs home to UK in the summer of 2018: these will form the foundation of 617 Squadron and will be used to declare an initial warfighting capability in December that year.

“We’ll leave a small handful of jets, pilots and maintainers at Beaufort until the summer of 2019: this team will primarily continue to work alongside the USMC to train new pilots, and on return to UK will form the nucleus of the UK’s Lightning Operational Conversion Unit [OCU – the training squadron] at RAF Marham.

“After the summer of 2019, the only UK Lightning footprint in USA will be 17(R) Sqn, which will remain stateside through-life, conducting high-end trials and operational test....
“Believe it or not, UK’s first four ab-initio pilots will go to VMFT-501 in 2017 to learn to fly F-35B. They’re actually at Linton-on-Ouse right now, undergoing Basic Flying Training,” the Air Commodore explained.

“We don’t know who they are just yet – it depends how the course progresses on the Hawk training at RAF Valley – but how exciting is it for those youngsters to know that they have a shot at going straight onto the F-35?

“After flying Hawk T2 at Valley, they’ll then go to MCAS Beaufort and be part of the growth path for 617 Squadron. Once trained, they’ll stay in South Carolina until the unit splits away and returns to UK in summer 2018, when it establishes itself at Marham.

“After IOC in December 2018 the aircraft could be ready to head off on ops, perhaps to Op Shader if required. That’s the fundamental difference with the Lightning programme compared to what the UK has done with the introduction of other fast jet platforms.”
"...“The F-35 has enormous potential to become an exceptional ISR platform – the important point being that, unlike our widebody ISR assets, the F-35 can conduct this mission in non-permissive environments, utilising its stealth technology to maximise access.

“This is a key area of interest for future follow-on development: imagine how effective this would be if we were able to link it to our new Airseeker [Rivet Joint] capability or our analysts based at locations such as RAF Digby or RAF Wyton.

“Beyond this, we also need to start exploring how we will hook F-35 into the maritime environment, or exploit its capabilities within the special forces domain. The possibilities could be endless.”

The new Air Officer Lightning sums it all up by concluding: “Effectively, the F-35 has become the equivalent of the latest generation of smartphone, like the iPhone 6. It’s so much more than just a fighter aircraft – the same as an iPhone is so much more than just a phone.”"

Source: Jan 2016 Air Forces Monthly Magazine

Re: THE WAY AHEAD [UK Transition to F-35B Squadrons]

Unread postPosted: 02 Jan 2016, 21:28
by spazsinbad
My main computer with robust PDF software is not available so I make do with laptop simples. Here is the eight page UK F-35B "THE WAY AHEAD" PDF with Tornado bits attached below - simply reprinted from original PDF - so hang loose Hawaii.

Re: THE WAY AHEAD [UK Transition to F-35B Squadrons]

Unread postPosted: 13 Apr 2016, 19:13
by spazsinbad
UK receives final F-35 test aircraft
12 Apr 2016 Gareth Jennings

"The United Kingdom has taken delivery of its fourth and final pre-operational Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told IHS Jane's on 12 April.

Aircraft BK-4 arrived at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland in February, before being delivered to 17 (Reserve) Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California for operational test and evaluation (OT&E) duties in the second week of March.

With the handover, the UK's F-35B fleet now comprises BK-1 and BK-2 (OT&E), BK-3 (training), and BK-4 (OT&E). Further to these first four trials and training aircraft, 10 of the first 14 operational jets that have been authorised by parliament under the Main Gate 4 approval process have now been contracted. The first four to be built under the Lot 8 production contract, with the second batch of six following in Lot 9.

The first operational unit - 617 'Dambusters' Squadron - will begin standing up with the first 14 operational aircraft and BK-3 at Beaufort Pilot Training Center at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, South Carolina, later in 2016. This unit will transfer to its future home station at RAF Marham in the United Kingdom in 2018, and in December of that year initial operating capability - land (IOC - Land) will be declared for the F-35B force.

The second unit - the Fleet Air Arm's 809 'Immortals' Naval Air Squadron (NAS) - will be created ahead of the start of sea trials aboard Queen Elizabeth in 2018, with the full operating capability (FOC - Land and Maritime) for the type being declared in 2023.

As announced in the November 2015, the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the Royal Air Force (RAF), and Royal Navy (RN) are to get all 138 aircraft that were originally requested over the life of the programme." [This 'aviation' reporter should remember that the RN always precedes the RAF in written verbal comms]

Source: ... t-aircraft

Re: THE WAY AHEAD [UK Transition to F-35B Squadrons]

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2016, 20:11
by spazsinbad
Defence Minister reaffirms US-UK collaboration on major equipment programmes
18 Apr 2016 Ministry of Defence and Philip Dunne MP

"Defence Minister Philip Dunne has visited the US to see first-hand the closeness of the UK-US collaboration on key defence programmes. In an indication of the strength of our bi-lateral relationship with the US, the Minister joined US Deputy Defence Secretary Bob Work on a programme of visits in the south-east of the country.

The Minister visited the US Marine Corp Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina where he met with RAF and Royal Navy personnel who are training on the new F-35B Lightning aircraft. As partners on the F-35 programme, the UK is working closely with the US. This allows UK personnel to train and learn alongside the US which was the first country to reach Initial Operating Capability in summer 2015.

Minister for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said:
“This has been an excellent opportunity to see at first-hand how closely UK and US Armed Forces work together, and to discuss with Deputy Secretary Work how we can take that even further. The ability of British and American military personnel to work so well together, with common approaches, common understanding and, where appropriate, common capabilities is vital to both our nations’ security.”

The F-35B Lightning is a 5th generation multi-role combat aircraft with advanced sensors, mission systems and stealth technology. Operating from land bases and our Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers, it will deliver a cutting-edge capability for the UK. Members of 617 Squadron, the RAF’s first F-35B Lightning Squadron, were able to show Mr Dunne around the aircraft and the training they have been doing.

Squadron Leader Hugh Nichols, UK Senior National Representative, 617 Squadron, said:
“The opportunity to meet the Minister and spend a considerable amount of time showing him around the Squadron was a privilege. He was given a flavour of the entire spectrum of work here at VMFAT-501, highlighting the importance of the experience that these early 617 Squadron UK service personnel are gaining during their time here in South Carolina.”

“We were also able to show the Minister some recorded video from recent missions which showcased the F-35 sensor suite and data processing.”..."

Source: ... programmes

Re: THE WAY AHEAD [UK Transition to F-35B Squadrons]

Unread postPosted: 23 Apr 2016, 19:46
by spazsinbad
Five page PDF of this article is attached.
Brits at Beaufort
May 2016 Lon Nordeen | Air Forces Monthly Magazine

"...The Warlords will, under current plans, also start training Italian pilots at Beaufort from next year to fill out units to fly the 15 STOVL F-35Bs replacing the AV-8B Harrier II for operations from Italy’s aircraft carriers....

...“Italian pilots will be coming to MCAS Beaufort next year for training. Up to now all the F-35 pilots have been experienced fighter pilots. Transition pilots with fighter experience fly a programme running four to six months, with 50% simulator and 50% flying hours.”...

...“The role of VMFAT-501 is to prepare and train pilots and maintainers for F-35B operational service in both the USMC and when the aircraft returns to the UK in 2018. It will operate alongside RAF Typhoons to form the UK Combat Air element and will deploy around the world onboard the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, designed specifically for F-35B operations.

“It’s likely these carriers will embark both UK and USMC personnel and aircraft in the future, which brings extra relevance to the work being undertaken at VMFAT-501 right now.

“The UK personnel based here at MCAS Beaufort will soon form the backbone of 617 ‘Dambusters’ Squadron when the unit stands up at RAF Marham in 2018, and of 809 Naval Air Squadron in 2023, ready to deploy on operations around the world from sea and ashore.”...

...The British F-35Bs will be armed with UK-specific weapons such as the Paveway IV guided bomb and AIM-132 ASRAAM short-range air-to-air missile. They can carry a maximum weapon payload of six Paveway IVs, two AIM-120C AMRAAMs, two AIM-132 ASRAAMs and a 25mm gun pod. In the future, F-35B integration is planned for the Storm Shadow and the new SPEAR Capability 3 air-to-ground guided missiles, together with the Meteor air-to-air missile.

Training in the USA
The UK has developed an extremely close relationship with the US Marine Corps during the development of the F-35B. All aircraft evaluation, testing and pilot training is currently taking place in the United States. Pilot training will switch to the UK in 2019 when the operational conversion unit stands up at Marham...."

PHOTO: "Sqn Ldr Hugh Nichols performs a lowspeed rolling vertical landing, displaying the complex array of doors which hide the lift fan and swiveling engine nozzle."

Source: Air Forces Monthly Magazine May 2016

Re: THE WAY AHEAD [UK Transition to F-35B Squadrons]

Unread postPosted: 27 Apr 2016, 19:23
by spazsinbad