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Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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hornetfinn

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Unread post28 Nov 2019, 10:32

I could also see a solution where the actual jammers are carried by drones/UCAVs and controlled from a good distance by some human operator(s). There the actual operation of the jammers is done by computers using AI. The tactical employment would be done by humans. This might be good solution for USAF for example, but I doubt it would work as well in USN due to limited number of aircraft onboard carriers. It will take a lot of time before we are there though and Growler and likely F-35 with NGJ will be used before that.
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boogieman

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Unread post28 Nov 2019, 10:52

Good point, I totally neglected to think of how a UAS based solution might be able to contribute. Whatever the capability ends up being I expect we'll start to hear more about it over the coming years.

This is one area where I think our (RAAF) force planners exercised some solid foresight - electing to field F35 with a supporting Growler force. Our air force be small but mighty haha :wink:
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spazsinbad

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Unread post28 Nov 2019, 11:18

ASLO (yes I know) the RAAFie CHAPPies selected the SKYguardian MQ-9B (same as UK) for some conflict from above.

See attached 2 page PDF from ADM 28 Nov 2019 no.567 with story from Ewen Levick about the above.
"...“MQ-9 is more about support to the land force and the littoral,” AIRCDRE Goldie told ADM. “So more customizable payloads, which are all about going after close electro-optic IR and signals intelligence.”..."
Attachments
Sky Guardian MQ-9B DWP 567 pp2.pdf
(213.85 KiB) Downloaded 365 times
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
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notkent

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Unread post28 Nov 2019, 14:50

The LO and SA of the F-35 will also allow it to loiter in the side lobes of a radar and perform jamming that will be harder to detect and counter
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ricnunes

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Unread post28 Nov 2019, 16:07

hornetfinn wrote:That's where sensor fusion engine, artificial intelligence and machine learning comes to play. Just like in F-14 there was real need to have dedicated radar intercept operator and no need in F-22 or F-35 despite the latter having much more capable radars. I think the same will happen with EW systems as I think computers can operate the systems much better than a human can in modern environments. Human has the role of tactician and supervisor and I think a single pilot can do that. AFAIK, that's how Growler is also being developed and upgraded right now. I mean developing artificial intelligence and automation for the EW system.


Exactly.
Also remember that the above also happened with the Growler itself. Note that the EA-18G Growler replaced the EA-6B Prowler which had a crew of four (4) while the Growler has only a crew of two (2). I also believe that sensor fusion together with NGJ will/could allow a one-man crew F-35 to fill the same roles as (or even eventually replace) the Growler.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post29 Nov 2019, 07:06

F-35 user base is such a lucrative business opportunity that it's hard to see NGJ not making it there in one form or another.
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doge

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Unread post01 Mar 2020, 09:59

Heritage's John Venable has posted on the infamous National Interest! :doh: (Brave, or Reckless)
https://www.heritage.org/defense/commen ... th-fighter
This piece originally appeared in The National Interest
Why the F-35 Is Now the World’s Most Dominant Stealth Fighter
Feb 26th, 2020 John Venable
The F-35 Lightning II is now the world’s most dominant multi-role fighter. Its detection range, geolocation, threat identification, and system response capabilities allow the jet to precisely fix and destroy the most advanced threats in the world including every layer of Russia’s latest SA-20 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system.
While it still has several rough edges, the F-35 has now crossed several thresholds that make it the most lethal and cost-effective fighter in or nearing production within the NATO Alliance. Here are 10 updates you need to know about this stealth fighter.
    1. The first U.S. F-35A wing is fully equipped and already executing combat deployments. The maneuvering restrictions the jet had when first introduced are now completely removed. Even with a complete internal weapons load-out and full internal fuel, pilots can fight without limitation. Last year, I interviewed 30 pilots at Hill Air Force Base, and all 20 with previous experience in fourth-generation fighters said they would rather fly the F-35 in combat than their previous rides. That preference held for almost every dogfight scenario they could imagine.
    2.The price of the Lightning has fallen below even the most optimistic government targets. In 2018, the Congressional Research Service estimated that an F-35A produced in 2020 would cost $77.5 million using constant 2012 dollars. Translating that cost estimate to current year dollars makes the price of each F-35A $87.1M. The actual cost of an F-35A in fiscal year 2021 is $79.2M, and it is expected to fall to $77.9M in 2022 – $9.2M cheaper than the government’s best estimate using current year dollars.
    3. The F-35A now costs less than any other ally-produced fourth-plus generation fighter. A fully combat-equipped F-35A is the same price of an F/A-18 E/F, $9.8 million below the $87.7 million base price of an F-15EX, and $40 million less than the Eurofighter—and all three of those competitors require additional equipment like multi-million dollar targeting pods before they can employ weapons in medium threat combat environments. The F-15EX self-protection system is estimated to cost $7.5 million, and the Sniper Targeting pod costs more than $1.7 million per jet, making the total cost for a combat configured F-15EX $19 million more than a fully combat configured F-35A. And none of those other jets would last for a day in a modern-day high-threat environment.
    4. Competition has increased performance and driven down costs. The total price of an F-35 is comprised of the aircraft, assembled and produced by Lockheed Martin, and the F135 engine produced by Pratt and Whitney—plus profit. When a Northrup Grumman-produced aircraft subcomponent called the Distributed Aperture System (DAS) failed to meet reliability thresholds, that system was replaced with a DAS produced by Raytheon that delivers twice the performance and five times the reliability at a per-unit cost 45 percent lower than the Northrup Grumman model. This switch alone will save the government $3 billion over the life of the program.
    5. Not all manufacturers who help build the F-35 have moved aggressively to reduce costs. Assuming it has stayed on track with Pentagon acquisition estimates, Pratt and Whitney is now delivering F-35 engines for $11.8 million a copy. With production efficiencies, that price was expected to fall to $10.7 million by FY 2025 (FY12 dollars), saving the taxpayer another million dollars per fighter. Unfortunately, without a competitive motor available, Pratt and Whitney has made it clear that further savings are no longer in the cards. The ability to competitively reduce engine cost and improve performance was lost when Congress killed funding for the F-35 alternative engine contract in 2011, leaving Pratt and Whitney as a sole-source supplier with no incentive to reduce its profits.
    6. The F-35A cost per flying hour (CPFH) is falling, but one must wade through Mark Twain’s “lies, damned lies and statistics” to find out how the jet is doing with this often misconstrued metric. CPFH calculations vary significantly between evaluating agencies, but all of them add costs for the F-35 that they do not include for the fourth-generation fighters they compare it to. Electronic countermeasures (ECM) and a precision infra-red targeting system are built into the F-35, elevating its maintenance requirements and ultimately its CPFH. Fighters like the F-15E and E(X), F-16C and FA-18E require additional equipment like external pods to give them similar capabilities but, because they are not “built in,” the pod’s acquisition price is not factored into those fourth-generation jets’ purchase price, nor are maintenance costs for those systems included in their CPFH calculations.
    CPFH calculations by the Defense Department Selective Acquisition Reports (SARs) still benefit fourth generation systems. They show the F-35A CPFH has dropped from $32,554 an hour in 2014 to $30,137 in 2018 (FY 2012 dollars). When you consider maintenance for the F-35’s targeting and ECM systems are included in that price, it begins to compare much more favorably with the F-16 CPFH of $25,541 (FY12 dollars) as well as the elusive CPFH for the F-15E and its sibling the F-15E(X). Time will tell if the F-35 CPFH make it down to the target of $25,000, but if Lockheed-Martin’s work reducing the F-35A’s cost can be used as a guide, the jet’s CPFH may very well fall below the historic cost for the F-15E (and F-15EX) and compete favorably with the F-16C—even with CPFH calculations that favor those jets.
    7. Mission capable (MC) rates for the F-35 rose considerably over the last year, but they are still below the 80 percent mission capable threshold set for the fleet by Secretary of Defense in 2018. According to Lt. Gen. Eric Fick, director of the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), the MC rate rose to 73.2 percent in 2019—up 18.5 percentage points from the previous year. With priority for parts, forward-deployed F-35 combat squadrons were able to sustain an 89% MC rate, which means parts availability for the fleet is still an issue.
    8. Depots limit F-35 mission capability. When an F-35 component fails, it is replaced with an available spare, and the failed part is shipped to a depot for repair. A total of 68 depots are required to effectively sustain the F-35 weapons system, but just 30 are up and running and only 11 of those are fully operational. Parts availability for the F-35 will continue to hold down MC rates until all depots are operating at capacity. Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office have accelerated their efforts to get depots up and running and now project that 64 depots will be operational by 2024—five years earlier than the estimated 2029. Assuming funding for parts remains consistent, the parts shortfall will end, allowing fleet-wide F-35 MC rates to meet or exceed 80%.
    9. The Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) for the F-35A is still having problems. The HMDS gives pilots an unparalleled level of situational awareness in combat as it displays all critical flight and weapons systems data on the inside of the pilot’s visor. The image from the system’s built-in night vision camera is also projected onto the visor, as is the image from the Distributed Aperture System (DAS) that automatically tracks and provides vivid cues directly to the pilot on the location of friendly and enemy aircraft. The HMDS is a game-changer in combat, but interface issues with its display have caused pilots to become disoriented when refueling, or while landing the jet at night. Lockheed Martin went to work fixing this system just as soon as pilots flagged it as an urgent operational need, and that fix is currently being fielded for Navy F-35Cs. It may take several years before the HMDS fix makes its way to the Air Force.
    10. The Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is still too big, slow and suffering too many problems. Every aspect of the F-35A’s maintenance, supply, and operations are managed through the F-35A ALIS. Much like an Apple iPhone Operating System (iOS), ALIS is a computer operating system that holds a conglomeration of 65 applications, sub-programs, or modules. Some were built exclusively for the F-35A; others are commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) programs. The problems arise when digital inputs from either the jet or a more modern ALIS application meet analog inputs or processing from another module. The Department of Defense has elected to replace ALIS with a cloud-based operational data integrated network (ODIN). The new system is designed to decrease workload and increase mission capability rates for all F-35 variants and should begin fielding later this year.
Overall, the F-35A fighter is flying exceptionally well. It now provides the United States with a significant competitive advantage against a peer competitor threat. Shortfalls in repair parts and other smaller issues need to be fixed as soon as possible, but the capabilities that the F-35 provides the nation today along with the dramatic drop in price make Air Force decisions to procure the F-15EX and to not ramp up F-35A procurement very puzzling indeed. The aircraft provides a capability America needs to engage in strategic competition.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post02 Mar 2020, 03:50

This plus ever and ever tighter US Defense Budgets. Is going to make the case for acquiring the F-15EX harder and harder with time...


"IMHO"
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count_to_10

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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 14:46

As good a place to put this as any, I guess:
https://issuesinsights.com/2020/03/18/t ... onception/
It’s a weak rehash of outdated and ignorant complaints that ends with “buy new F-15’s”.
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archeman

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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 22:57

count_to_10 wrote:As good a place to put this as any, I guess:
https://issuesinsights.com/2020/03/18/t ... onception/
It’s a weak rehash of outdated and ignorant complaints that ends with “buy new F-15’s”.


This guys summary at the end explains why we don't let these people make decisions:

Each branch of the military would best offer its own, next generation, high-tech fighter plane. That can include fully updated F-15X fighter jets, and other new jets supplementing the capabilities of any F-35s that make it into the force. That would best ensure Reagan’s Peace Through Strength, discouraging all potential enemies from even trying to mess with the most advanced, high-tech, modern American military. (655 words).

Peter Ferrara is the Dunn Liberty Fellow in Economics at the King’s College in New York, and a senior fellow at the National Tax Limitation Foundation


    * I thought this Peter J. Ferrara guy was a "Fellow in Economics" -- Why would you think we could afford for each branch of the US military to develop it's own Next Generation Fighter R&D then Production contracts AND continue some level of F-35 production? That is not well thought through. What about all the other countries that are buying the F-35? Do they and their military services get tossed out with the trash?
    * Why does he think that F-15X is a Next Generation Fighter? It's the same F-15 we are selling to the Gulf states right now.
    * Invoking Reagan's name does not give you instant respectability from defense minded folks. Good ideas will.
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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 23:39

That would best include the Pentagon’s high-tech Maginot Line, the F-35,


Acturally the Maginot Line worked as expected. (Far more wasteful was the French Navy.) This guy just repeated the usual trope.
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weasel1962

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Unread post19 Mar 2020, 02:52

I wouldn't have bothered to post the Ferrara hack-job. Its literally inaccurate from the first sentence to the very last, taking quotes out of context. In the days of joint ops, here is someone advocating the exact opposite without any understanding of how warfare has evolved. Pure waste of time reading it.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post19 Mar 2020, 08:05

zhangmdev wrote:
That would best include the Pentagon’s high-tech Maginot Line, the F-35,


Acturally the Maginot Line worked as expected. (Far more wasteful was the French Navy.) This guy just repeated the usual trope.


Exactly. It worked extremely well but the problem was that it wasn't as extensive as it should have and also had weak spots that the Germans exploited. So F-35 program should rather be enlarged rather than anything else.

Of course I totally fail to see any resemblance or connection between F-35 program and Maginot Line.
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Unread post19 Mar 2020, 10:17

hornetfinn wrote:I totally fail to see any resemblance or connection between F-35 program and Maginot Line.

Canada and Belgium are both northern points of failure? :wink:
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Unread post19 Mar 2020, 11:02

The author basically advocates an F-15 Schwerpunkt that hits the self-perceived "soft" underbelly of the F-35 program. Not going to happen though. "Northern" failures (pre-empting a Canadian U-turn which may or may not happen) aren't important enough to kill the program.

The only line that counts is the production line that will keep going and going like an energizer battery.
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