Strategic Deterrence...: The Coming Impact of the F-35B

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spazsinbad

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Unread post21 May 2012, 10:06

Strategic Deterrence with Tactical Flexibility: The Coming Impact of the F-35B
By Ed Timperlake May 18, 2012

http://www.sldforum.com/2012/05/strateg ... the-f-35b/

"Every fighter pilot has had or will have a moment in the air when the biggest indicator in the cockpit is showing how much fuel is left: the fuel indicator immediately can dominate the pilots attention and really focus thinking on where to immediately land.

Fuel is measured in pounds usually with an engineering caveat stating a degree of uncertainty over how low the number may go before all the noise will stop. Pounds of fuel remaining eventually become everything.

It is actually a very simple and terrifying equation, no fuel means simply no noise because the jet engine has stopped working.

Contemplating this very time sensitive dilemma, when the “noise gage” goes to zero, all pilots know that their once trusted and beautiful sleek multi-million fighters that they are strapped into will rapidly take on the flying characteristic of a brick....

Much Much More at the JUMP!
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Unread post21 May 2012, 17:48

Spaz, This article was very hard to read. It seemed as if author wanted to rush to make a point about the field deployment capabilities of the F-35B but muddled the background setup.

RE: field use of the F-35B would be easier to explain if some examples of it could be shown for the Harriers in the USMC. In my ignorance I don't have any such examples (assistance from Harrier fliers please???). We've been at war in SE Asia now for about 20 years give or take and these uses of our Harrier fleet are not well publicized. I would think that LM would be shouting those examples from the rooftops in support of the B. Instead, all we keep hearing about is the Falklands example, where austere field deployment was the ONLY option.

I think that if that concept of persistent austere field deployment of STOVL were to really be executable, the field support concept would also have to be realistic. I remember seeing pictures of an airfield truck commonly used at Russian airbases that included fuel, test equipment and some spares storage, external power generator and engine starter -- all in one. That seems like a good start.
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Unread post21 May 2012, 20:14

The author of the article forgot one very important fact, setting up for and performing a vertical landing takes a lot of gas. Its much more fuel efficent to do a straight in approach.
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Unread post21 May 2012, 20:38

In the Harrier, definitely. But in the Lightning the vertical thrust will be pretty much evenly split between the nozzle and lift fan. You may get a short spike in fuel burn during transition and fan spin-up but once settled in the hover fuel burn should be close to normal mil power rates depending on the power setting.

But don't quote me.... :wink:
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Unread post21 May 2012, 21:03

'archeman' personally I find a lot of SLDinfo articles difficult to read/comprehend (and I have mentioned this before) due to the writing style and introduction of a lot of acronyms and USMC buzz words I am not familiar with. Also most SLDinfo articles suffer from not being proofread and corrected. Last but not least a lot of their articles are cobbled together using previous articles, often making these issues worse. But as some say - whatever. I do enjoy their introduction of new concepts for CONOPS for the F-35B in particular. I'm confident the USMC do a lot of work in that regard and we will hear more about it in future where SLDinfo only hint at it often.

Singapore practises road landings regularly with support. I'd imagine that SEA island / small landmass nations would benefit using the F-35B for deployment 'off airfield' with South Korea, Japan and Singapore [Taiwan interested but will US sell it to them?] being candidates with Italian mentioning using F-35Bs on their short runways [+ Israel interested earlier on but apparently not now]. Harriers only used by Thailand in that region from a small carrier and not much use at all for many reasons (lack of money being one AFAIK).

What needs to be remembered about an F-35B (or Harrier) vertical landing it is that it can be done with minimum required fuel and it is guaranteed - at that spot. Many spots available while fewer very short runways or even roadways available by comparison. Ground support will move to where they are - within reason. Survivability of F-35B is guaranteed even if main airfield trashed.
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Unread post21 May 2012, 22:17

As I see it, the Bee may have an advantage in a low fuel situation if it can make emergency landings on unimproved clearings/surfaces; the engine might get chewed up, but a basically intact plane that one can cart off for repairs is better than a smoking hole in the ground. However, I don't know of many situations where that capability is pertinent. You'd be surprised at how many accidents are caused by running out of gas, but in most cases, the pilot doesn't realize the problem until he stops hearing the good noise (no vertical landings there).
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Unread post21 May 2012, 22:21

@spazsinbad........ define "minimum required fuel" for a F-35B vertical landing.
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Unread post21 May 2012, 22:32

'alloycowboy' that 'min. req. fuel for F-35B VL' would be good to know. One could extrapolate from previous SHAR requirement to have 500 lbs 'in the circuit' - my guess this means at the hover perhaps. Then the SHAR could do a quick whip around, apparently to have another quick go at a VL, before byebyes. However they would likely just hover to another clear spot rather than do an 'overshoot'. One day we will know the 'required minimum fuel for F-35B VL' - I'll be sure to post it. :D

The point in the article about 'sweating the fuel' and never running out of fuel deliberately and suffer dire consequences (loss of wings) is a good one. SHAR pilots were used to approaching with this small fuel amount and they landed VL every time - guaranteed.

BTW the SHAR pilot had to manage other factors such as use of the water and any maximum EGT time successfully. Using the 'shiney lever' (nozzle control) they worked like 'one armed wallpaper hangers'. :roll:

'STOP then LAND' was their motto.
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Unread post21 May 2012, 22:50

Given the choice, the F-35B will operate primarily from it's mother ship which provides all the conveniences and comforts of home. Not to say it won't deploy to a FOB if the situation warrants.
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Unread post21 May 2012, 23:08

For those without 'mother' then distributed austere 'off airfield' ops in a wartime emergency are what is envisaged.

In the meantime looking for previous discussions about 'F-35B min. fuel for V.L.s' I found this bit of info - which applies to specific ship situations. Other ships with other island configurations will have different stbd crosswind limitations etc. Anyhoo.... It is an example of why there is a realistic minimum fuel to cater for 'the unexpected'. However I stress any flat deck ship will know what is required to avoid bad burble situations for an approaching F-35B. Similarly conventional USN carrier aircraft have to fly through the 'island burble' or any other burble to deck land and the carrier knows the limits for WOD to help minimise burble effects.

DOTE Report Jan 2012 F-35 Section:

http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2 ... r-from.pdf (0.23Mb)

"Air System-Ship Integration and Ship Suitability Testing
• F-35B.
The program accomplished the first of two STOVL developmental test ship trials on the USS Wasp in October with test aircraft BF-2 and BF-4. The testing focused on developing initial short take-offs and vertical landings in the initial flight envelopes for deck operations, performing initial ship compatibility assessments, and collecting environmental data from instrumented ship locations. Seventy-two short take-offs and vertical landings were completed during the 19-day deployment in conditions of up to 33 knots of wind-over-deck and 10 knots of starboard crosswind....

...Air System-Ship Integration and Ship Suitability Testing
• The F-35B initial ship trials on USS Wasp supported initial short take-off and vertical landing envelope expansion efforts for shipboard operations with data collected as planned across a portion of the wind-over-deck conditions. As expected, high starboard crosswinds produced the most challenging environment. One approach to hover prior to a vertical landing was waved off by the pilot due to turbulence in the ship’s airwake....
___________--

Same report mentions 'min. fuel' in usual vague way:

"...• The vertical lift bring-back requirement is a primary STOVL-mode attribute and is a Key Performance Parameter (KPP). It is the weight of a minimum fuel quantity and other necessary payload needed to safely recover the aircraft on the ship after an operational mission, plus a representative weapons payload...."
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Unread post22 May 2012, 00:21

OOoops! I misrembered the minimum fuel for the SHAR - it is 1,000 lbs with fuel warning flashing at 500 lbs as per:

Lockheed: Many F-35B landings won’t be vertical
From this thread: http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopic-t-15671.html

A Skyhawk Pilots Guide to Sea Harrier by LCDR Dave Ramsay RAN 1983
“...The undercarriage arrangement of centreline mainwheels and wingtip outriggers is necessitated by the engine and nozzle positions....
...Our normal criteria is to land from a hover when the fuel low level warning flashes (at 500 lb) and to aim to be downwind with a minimum of 1,000 lbs so all pilots are used to flying with low fuel levels – and you don’t bolter in this aircraft....
...The way it works is this:- you drive on around the circuit and point at your landing pad at 165Kts, gear and flap down and 40° nozzles selected. Power will be about 65% and the hoons amongst us will drive on in like this until the very last possible moment, then use full braking stop to decelerate. I myself sedately take the hover stop at about 0.8Nm. So now all the thrust points down and the slick aerodynamic qualities of the Harrier manifest themselves as a marked deceleration. This in turn means wing lift is decreasing (attitude is held constant at 8 units AOA) so you increase power to keep the ground at bay. It is a fact of life that as you decellerate through 90Kts the lack of wing lift and the trim change induced control inputs require an engine power and therefore JPT that is pretty well just what you will have in a nice steady hover....”
______________

Same thread as above on this page has me rabbiting on about 'min. fuel' - scroll down:

http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNph ... mum#199019
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Unread post22 May 2012, 00:29

spazsinbad wrote:'alloycowboy' that 'min. req. fuel for F-35B VL' would be good to know. One could extrapolate from previous SHAR requirement to have 500 lbs 'in the circuit' - my guess this means at the hover perhaps. Then the SHAR could do a quick whip around, apparently to have another quick go at a VL, before byebyes. However they would likely just hover to another clear spot rather than do an 'overshoot'. One day we will know the 'required minimum fuel for F-35B VL' - I'll be sure to post it. :D

The point in the article about 'sweating the fuel' and never running out of fuel deliberately and suffer dire consequences (loss of wings) is a good one. SHAR pilots were used to approaching with this small fuel amount and they landed VL every time - guaranteed.

BTW the SHAR pilot had to manage other factors such as use of the water and any maximum EGT time successfully. Using the 'shiney lever' (nozzle control) they worked like 'one armed wallpaper hangers'. :roll:

'STOP then LAND' was their motto.


Thanks Spaz, another question if I may. What is the glide ratio of a F-35B making a vertical landing with zero fuel?
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Unread post22 May 2012, 01:01

Best description of how engine works for STOVL ops from: http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNph ... mum#178042

A Flexible Jet Fighter Article - Issue 41, Dec 2009 Neil Mehta

http://www.ingenia.org.uk/ingenia/issue ... /Mehta.pdf (0.5Mb)
&
http://www.ingenia.org.uk/ingenia/artic ... ?Index=576 (same article online)

Excerpt: "STOVL
For short take-off, the 3BSM is swivelled downwards, the roll post nozzles are opened and the clutch is engaged, the power of the main engine is increased and the LiftFan begins to produce thrust. As the F-35B accelerates it is lifted into the air by downward thrust from a combination of its LiftFan, the 3BSM and two roll-posts and within seconds it reaches the point where its wing provides all the lift it needs to fly conventionally. At this point, the drive to the LiftFan is disengaged, the 3BSM is swivelled rearwards and the roll post nozzles are closed allowing 100% of the main engine’s power to be delivered through the rear nozzle.

As the F-35B prepares for a vertical landing, thrust from its main engine is decreased, the clutch is engaged and the LiftFan begins to spool-up to close to 100% speed in readiness to provide downward thrust the moment it is required. But although the LiftFan is rotating at 100%, it must produce the absolute minimum of vertical thrust to avoid creating an unwanted pitch-up effect on the aircraft during the critical approach-to-landing phase.

This is an entirely novel challenge. Normally a fan running at 100% speed will produce 100% thrust. The LiftFan, however, must only begin to deliver its thrust when the pilot selects nozzles-down for short take-off or vertical landing.

Our solution has been to use the guide vanes at the front of the LiftFan’s inlet. We have designed these to operate at variable angles, constantly adjusting to optimise airflow into the LiftFan’s intake. As the F-35B slows for its transition from forward flight to hover, the LiftFan’s transmission system is engaged and within 10 seconds spools-up to 100% speed in readiness for instant power delivery. Its inlet guide vanes are closed, reducing airflow and minimising thrust. At the instant when downward thrust is needed from the LiftFan, the guide vanes begin to open. For 100% thrust they open fully."
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Unread post22 May 2012, 01:15

The F-35B 'landing circuit' described here I believe mimics USMC Harrier Ops but this method is not the way of old RN FAA SHAR Ops (even though the reporter uses 'CVF'). However the final approach method - on finals - would be the same in both cases (USMC/RN). From very long thread at page: http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNph ... mum#172162

Date Posted: 11-Dec-2008 International Defence Review

http://militarynuts.com/index.php?showtopic=1507&st=120

Preparing for take-off: UK ramps up F-35 carrier integration effort

"A range of simulation, modelling, risk-reduction and technology-demonstration activities are under way to optimise the safety and operability of the ship/air interface between the UK's new aircraft carriers and the F-35B Joint Strike Fighters that will operate from them. Richard Scott reports

BAE Systems' lead test pilot Graham Tomlinson is at the controls of the F-35B Lightning II, the short take-off, vertical-landing (STOVL) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35). Up ahead he sees the wake, and then the large grey bulk, of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of the UK Royal Navy's (RN's) two new 65,000-tonne displacement Future Carrier (CVF) vessels.

Flying to Visual Flight Rules (VFR), Tomlinson is in a 'slot' designated by the ship's Flyco (Flying Control) as he prepares to recover to the carrier deck. Overflying the starboard side of Queen Elizabeth at an altitude of 600 ft in wingborne flight, he then banks the aircraft to roll out on a reciprocal heading (approximately 1.5 n miles abeam the ship) to perform the visual circuit.

Towards the end of the turn, having throttled back to bring the aircraft to a speed below 250 kt, Tomlinson presses a single switch on the right-hand sidestick controller to transition the F-35B to STOVL flight mode.

During conversion, the doors covering the lift fan and surrounding the three-bearing swivel duct automatically open and both propulsion effectors vector to an appropriate angle.

At the end of the conversion, the aircraft is configured for semi-jetborne flight. Tomlinson selects landing gear down in readiness for recovery.

He now initiates a final descending turn shortly after passing the stern of Queen Elizabeth, rolling out onto the same heading as the ship at a range of approximately 1.5 n miles. Using the glide slope and line-up cues provided by the ship's visual landing aids, together with helmet-mounted display symbology, the aircraft comes onto a three-degree decelerating approach before being brought to a stabilised hover, at the same forward speed as the carrier, alongside the designated deck landing spot.

Tomlinson now translates laterally, from abeam, to reposition his aircraft over the landing spot, using the longitudinal and lateral deck markings for line-up (the correct hover height is indicated by the Height Indicator and Hover Aid Thermometer [HIHAT] fixed to the forward island).

The aircraft descends vertically onto the flight deck and once safely on board Tomlinson is directed to taxi clear of the landing runway to a specified parking spot...."
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Unread post22 May 2012, 01:27

'allowcoyboy' asks :-) : "Thanks Spaz, another question if I may. What is the glide ratio of a F-35B making a vertical landing with zero fuel?"

I would suggest that if said F-35B is over a suitable surface at 'zero' altitude there is nowt to worry about. At some point the 'dead engine' glide characteristics of all the F-35s will be tested (already we have seen engine relights tested) whether they continue to a windmilling engine landing on a long runway I have no idea. Probably bricks glide better although every now and then I see video of an F-16 dead engine landing (one did not work out well for some reason).

I wonder if auto eject is actuated with zero fuel in certain F-35B scenarios? Anyway an F-35B is not a helicopter doing auto rotations.
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