F-35 Block 4

Cockpit, radar, helmet-mounted display, and other avionics
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post23 Oct 2015, 17:06

or carry armament similar do F-16

You're right... the F-35 has fully fused avionics, BVR weapons, an IRST, a FLIR, 360 EODAS, and precision munitions....

Funny how added complexity increases development timeframes.

Your timeline a way off, especially the "will be a capable fighter in 10 years time", unless you think the USMC decision to declare IOC at Block 2B was premature. btw, They ALWAYS intended to declare IOC before the USAF with Block 2.

Then there is Block 3F and unless you think that is also not capable....

If you look at ANY of the new modern fighters of the last 20+ years, they all took over a decade to develop mainly due to the complexity of the program (software, avionics, etc). This applies to the F-22, F-35, Rafale, Eurofighter, etc.
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Unread post23 Oct 2015, 17:30

...and how many Viper Blocks? Let me count the ways -- 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40/42, 50/52, 60...and different sub-configurations within many Blocks. Wasnt much hanging on a Block 1 Viper either -- compare to a Block 60. Compare a Block 60 to a Block 2b/3i F-35. From talking to the pilots who have flown both, I can tell you which one they'd rather fly.
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Dragon029

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Unread post24 Oct 2015, 01:17

laos; the biggest difference is simply that in the 70s and 80s, the test process was fraught with far less red tape and worked on many more assumptions (eg; "missile X launches fine while next to bomb Y, therefore it should launch fine while next to bomb Z").

In modern systems testing, you have weapons being coded for, etc, then being computer simulated to see how they would be launched, then dropped on the ground into soft pits to see that they match the models, then the models are tweaked, the weapons are carried up, vibration tested, the aerodynamic effects closely mapped, etc, then you do weapons drops, tweaking the pneumatic launchers / setup to make it work best, then you do launches under more strenuous conditions, do more tweaking, do weapons accuracy tests, etc.
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dan725

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Unread post27 Oct 2015, 15:57

Adding to the fact that the F-35 now has to test and cert for the entire munitions inventory. How many weapons were there back in the 70's that the F-16 had to employ compared to 2015? Before spouting off ignorance laos, read into the why.
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laos

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Unread post30 Oct 2015, 08:26

Thank you all for your comments.
I admit that in field of aircraft testing and software development I am ignorant. Your comments shed a new light on the problems which I was not aware off.
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johnwill

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Unread post30 Oct 2015, 21:22

All that is true, but don't get the idea that a bunch of cowboys from Fort Worth just hung random weapons on the F-16 at random hardpoints, and dropped them at random conditions without extensive analysis and ground test. USAF provided GD with an initial list of takeoff loadings and normal downloadings to be cleared during FSD tests. Two air to air, seven air to ground, and a ferry loadings were specified. Air to air loadings were two or four AIM-9L, with and without 370 tanks. Air to ground included Mk-82, Mk-84, GBU-10, GBU-12, AGM-65, CBU, and SUU-20/BDU in various combinations. The same process Dragon029 described was followed to clear inflight ejections, except there was no coding, and weapons were not just dropped into sand pits, they were ejected with specified cartridges, and the carts were "tweaked" on the ground to result in desired pitch rates. Dynamic loads measured on the ground were cranked back into the inflight load analysis to verify adequate strength. A significant number of flights were used to develop interval limits for MER ripple ejections, that were cleared, but never used in service (I was told).

F-16 FSD flight tests began in February, 1974 and were essentially complete by mid 1975 for air to air and air to ground. We had the advantage of a much simpler airplane of course, but we also had a TEAM approach, where USAF and GD were both dedicated to getting the job done safely, as soon as possible. IOC was around August 1979 (ask Gums, he was there).
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Unread post08 Mar 2016, 16:19

USAF priority more on EW than on new engine as the Follow-On Development plan gets pieced together:

USAF officials have said that the aircraft already boasts impressive electronic warfare (EW) capabilities, and more will be added as the threat evolves, said Maj Gen Harrigian. "We're doing a lot of things with EW," he said. "First you have to understand what the threat is and ensure that, as threats evolve, we're agile enough to show the pilot what that threat is. The second piece of it is, then, what kind of electronic attack [EA] capabilities do we have to take care of that, blind them, run them off to another target?" He added that new EW and EA capabilities will be integrated into the F-35 with both increment 3i and 3F software. The service intends to declare its jets operational with the 3i software on board.

Senior Department of Defense officials have previously said that a new variable cycle engine could also be cut into F-35 production within the time frame that Maj Gen Harrigian addressed for the aircraft's first major modernisation. Asked whether the USAF will seek to integrate the new engine, he said that it is an option in about 10 years, but that it is not high on the air force's wish list at this time.


http://www.janes.com/article/58594/usaf ... or-2020-25
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Unread post08 Mar 2016, 17:38

He added that new EW and EA capabilities will be integrated into the F-35 with both increment 3i and 3F software.


So not just 2B capabilities hosted on new processors, eh?
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Unread post08 Mar 2016, 18:00

Posted elsewhere but related to a potential Block 4 tie in, Advanced EOTS prototype could fly by next year as should outperform all current & planned systems.


https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -f-422810/

Bolling told reporters following an EOTS factory tour in Orlando, Florida on 24 February that the next iteration will be cut into the same production line, if chosen by F-35 customers. Advanced EOTS promises better performance “than any pod currently [fielded] or currently envisioned”, he claims.

“By the end of the year, we’ll have a prototype system completed and then hopefully, in the new year, we’ll have identified a path to fly it on a surrogate platform and be able to show that high-fidelity imagery,” Bolling says.
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Unread post09 Mar 2016, 04:51

SpudmanWP wrote:....Advanced EOTS promises better performance “than any pod currently [fielded] or currently envisioned”, he claims...and be able to show that high-fidelity imagery,” ....


....seems to be "replacement in kind/ in place"...tech interface upgrade for existing installed F-35 sensors and displays....?

Since LM is fielding both A/EOTS and the Pod?, why could they not supply A/EOTS in two (port and starboard) fiber linked pods on the legacy teens for an upgrade? Maybe they lose a weapon station but gain the passive SA. Network it into the F-35 as more remote sensors? :)
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Unread post09 Mar 2016, 06:22

1 pod is tolerable for drag, 2 is pushing it. Legion is meant to be hung on a centerline pod as well, meaning it can scan either side fairly well.
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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 21:24

Lockheed Nabs $18.5M for F-35 Follow-On Development
30 Mar 2016 Lara Seligman

"WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin won an additional $18.5 million to continue work on developing an F-35 upgrade program, the Defense Department announced this week.

The Pentagon awarded Lockheed a $18.5 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus, fixed-fee contract for development efforts for the F-35 Block 4 modernization program, according to a March 28 announcement.

The work, which is is expected to be complete in May 2017...

...The Block 4 modernization program is expected to cost $3 billion over the next six years. The effort will include upgrades to maintain viability against evolving threats, as well as a switch to a so-called open systems architecture that would make it easier to swap out sensors and other equipment on the jets in the future.

Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, chief of the F-35 joint program office, said earlier this month he expects a contract award for Block 4 in late 2018. He also said the Pentagon’s Joint Requirements Oversight Council will likely approve a road map for Block 4 this summer."

Source: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /82430272/
Last edited by spazsinbad on 30 Mar 2016, 21:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 21:43

The JSF is probably the most scrutinized program in the DoD and GAO wants to burden it with even more bureaucratic overhead?



http://nges.insidedefense.com/daily-new ... te-program?

"DOD does not currently plan to manage Block 4 as a separate program with its own acquisition program baseline but rather as part of the existing baseline," Michael Sullivan, acquisition and sourcing management director for GAO, told the subcommittee. "As a result, Block 4 will not be subject to key statutory and regulatory oversight requirements, such as providing Congress with regular, formal reports on program cost and schedule performance."...

Bogdan said changes in cost, schedule and performance for Block 4 will not be "buried" because the Pentagon's acquisition executive has certain requirements he must approve for follow-on development.

"We will have a separate contract on modernization; we will require separate earned value management reporting on that; [and] we will require separate cost, schedule and performance reporting from the contractors," he continued.
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Unread post13 Apr 2016, 21:24

Firstly does anyone find it strange that this graphic goes with this story? http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... 170e_o.jpg
GAO Warns About Next Phase of F-35 Program
May 2016 Jon Harper

"A government watchdog warned Congress that lawmakers could have difficulty holding the Air Force accountable for controlling costs during follow-on modernization of the F-35. The current joint strike fighter development effort is projected to end in 2017 when Block 3F developmental flight testing is completed, for a total development cost of $55 billion.

The first increment of follow-on modernization, Block 4, is expected to add new capabilities and correct deficiencies. But the Government Accountability Office said the Pentagon’s plans could be problematic. “Without setting up the modernization as a separate program with its own baseline and regular reporting as best practices recommend, it will be difficult for Congress to hold DoD accountable for achieving F-35 Block 4 cost, schedule and performance goals,” Michael J. Sullivan, GAO’s director of acquisition and sourcing management, told lawmakers recently.

“Although the requirements are not yet final and no official cost estimate has been developed for Block 4, DoD’s fiscal year 2017 budget request indicates that the department expects to spend nearly $3 billion on these development efforts over the next six years,” he testified before the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces.

As of March, the Pentagon’s estimated total acquisition cost for the F-35 program is $379 billion, about $12 billion less than anticipated two years ago. But the aircraft continues to face affordability challenges, Sullivan noted. The program is expected to reach peak production rates in 2022, at which point the Defense Department expects to spend more than $14 billion a year, on average, over a 10-year period on the jets.

“When acquisition and sustainment funds are combined, annual funding requirements could easily approach $30 billion in some years,” Sullivan said. Budget constraints have compelled the Air Force to defer F-35 aircraft buys in recent years, a trend that could continue, he noted. “The cost of extending the lives of current fighter aircraft and acquiring other major weapon systems, while continuing to produce and field new F-35 aircraft, poses significant affordability risks in a period of austere defense budgets,” he said....

...Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, program executive officer for the F-35, presented an optimistic outlook. “The program is making solid progress across the board,” he told the subcommittee. “We are confident the F-35 team can … deliver on our commitments.”

Bogdan anticipates the Joint Requirements Oversight Council will approve the follow-on modernization/Block 4 capabilities development document this summer. “Work continues with the U.S. services and international partners to ensure the modernization program will be ‘right-sized’ for affordability and sustainability,” he said. Bogdan’s office will ensure that separate cost, schedule, performance and earned-value data will be available to provide detailed insight into program execution, he said."

Source: http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... ogram.aspx
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Unread post14 Apr 2016, 00:06

spazsinbad wrote:Firstly does anyone find it strange that this graphic goes with this story?


Well people here *have* been saying the F-35 is basically a stealthy F-16 with additional range and better avionics, so...
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