F-35 test pilot Billie Flynn destroys myths about JSF/F-35

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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doge

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Unread post11 Apr 2022, 08:05

basher54321 wrote:
F-35: Capabilities, Missions, Kinematics, Role In Ukrainian Crisis And Beyond.
Interview With Billie Flynn
https://theaviationist.com/2022/04/07/f ... lie-flynn/

Greatest post, interview, and Pilot! :applause:
My favorite part. 8)
In Poland, there has been this recurring myth on the Lightning II – those who question the procurement say that Warsaw does not need a deep-strike/SEAD/DEAD platform like the F-35 – calling it an offensive aircraft – and that we should procure an air superiority, defensive jet. Is the F-35 really solely an ‘offensive’ strike aircraft?
Well, the F-35 is a truly multi-role platform, in terms of defensive capability and offensive capability. But the aircraft that Poland will get will be able to carry six AMRAAM air-to-air missiles inside the weapons bay plus two AIM-9 or ASRAAM IR missiles, on the outward wing stations; that’s 8 missiles on the F-35 which is as lethal as anything else that’s out there. By the way, the picture of F-15EX with 22 AMRAAMs hides the fact that it could not take off with a maximum load of fuel, plus all those missiles at the same time. And no one has 22 AMRAAMs to load on a single fighter. A realistic loadout is six plus two that you will see in the later lots of the F-35. The F-35 is meant to protect other nations that have bought the jet, which are defensive in nature including Switzerland, Finland, and Canada In Finland, they’re worried about 1400 kilometers of border shared with Russia. In Switzerland, they would never anticipate flying the F-35 outside of their border, their job is to protect the nation. With its exceptional reach and sensor performance, across many spectrums, a very significant air-2-air loadout, and a stealthy platform, the F-35s will give those air forces a dramatic advantage over everything else. It is the most capable defensive platform out there.

For Poland to adopt the F-35, do you think procurement of AEW, and tankers would be a beneficial force multiplier?
Do you need tankers? Does NATO collectively need more tankers? Absolutely, if they are going to deploy like we ended up in Kosovo, back again 20+ years ago, when we needed airborne refueling assets to allow us to go deep into Serbian territory. Or, in our case today potentially, into Russian territory. The nations, collectively, need tankers. Do individual countries need their own tanker assets? I do not think so because the F-35 has more range and better persistence than any other legacy fighter. The F-35A has 18,500 pounds of internal fuel which is more gas than is carried by a legacy F-16, or Typhoon, or Hornet. All that fuel means that the F-35 can go further, and stay airborne longer, than even the F-16, which has really good legs. I do not know if you need tankers as individual nations. NATO has to look at the tanker assets and decide what the nations collectively need.

So, this goes back to the Eagle: do you say that Lightning has a longer loiter time, station time, than the F-15?
This depends, if we’re asking Eagle to carry 3 fuel tanks, is he loitering now, does he have a lot of missiles on the outside, which adds to its drag? The F-35 has a very efficient, 5th generation Pratt & Whitney F-135 engine. It was designed like a commercial engine, more efficient than any of the 4th gen fighter engines could be. Those 4th gen engines are based on 40-year-old technology, as opposed to much more advanced 5th Gen technology. The F-35 is more efficient when it’s airborne, has less drag, and carries a lot of gas. It can sit on station a long time. I flew a long, long time, being airborne in the F-35 for all those years, a lot longer than I ever did on those legacy platforms like the F-16, F-18, or the Typhoon.

Mr.Billie Flynn is of the faction that tankers are not necessary. :shock: (!?)
and...
Flynn's statement is nuanced, as if the F-35's range is as competitive as the F-15EX discussed in the article. :shock: wow. :doh: (Of course, F-15EX standard configuration is CFT+3xEFT. 8) The F-15E(X) has a permanent CFT attached and will not be removed and operated on a mission.)
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Unread post01 May 2022, 15:11

Eurasiantimes was only a hindrance to web searches for me, but the only worthwhile article appeared. :bang:
Eurasiantimes interviewed Mr. Billie Flynn. :shock: (!)
https://eurasiantimes.com/deployed-arou ... u-57-jets/
Deployed Around Russia – F-35 Test Pilot ‘Speaks His Heart Out’ On The Might Of US Stealth Fighters Over J-20, Su-57 Jets
By Ashish Dangwal April 24, 2022
As Western nations scramble to counter Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter jet has taken center stage across Europe.
Though both Russia and Ukraine operate surface-to-air missile systems and aircraft, none have been able to control air space in the war.
The war has also raised questions about how some of the most advanced weaponry, particularly warplanes operating in contested airspace, could play a critical role in the battle, as well as what lessons can be learned from the current war.
In conversation with EurAsian Times, Billie Flynn, a former Royal Canadian Air Force lieutenant colonel and senior F-35 test pilot for Lockheed Martin, discusses the details of the F-35, highlighting the role it could play in bolstering NATO defenses and Ukraine-like scenarios.

F-35: A Fifth-Gen Aircraft
F-35, the US-made fifth-generation fighter jet is capable of air-to-air combat, assault on ground forces, perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.
The F-35 has acquired the moniker “quarterback of the skies” for its ability to gather and deliver real-time battlefield intelligence to allied troops. It is equipped with four 500-pound GBU-12 laser-guided bombs on its wings, two GBU-12 in its internal weapons compartment, and an AIM-9 air-to-air heat-seeking missile in “beast mode.”
The F-35 is available in three different variants. The F-35A is intended for standard takeoffs and landings, F-35B for short takeoffs and vertical landings, and F-35C for aircraft carrier missions.

F-35: Reinforcing NATO’s Defenses
The Russian invasion of Ukraine provoked several responses from the Joe Biden administration, including sanctions and a significant boost in military aid to Ukraine. However, one particular move, the deployment of several F-35 fighter jets to Eastern Europe, was publicized.
NATO troops had begun accumulating assets and deploying them in Eastern Europe even before Moscow’s invasion. This was necessary as Ukraine shares a border with Poland, a NATO partner.
During the peak of Russian buildup near the Ukrainian border, a dozen F-35A fighter planes and 350 servicemen from Hill Air Force Base in Utah had landed in Germany.
Six F-35 fighter planes were then flown from Germany’s Spangdahlem airbase to NATO’s eastern front on February 22 and landed in the Baltic and the Black Sea regions on February 24 to bolster allies as Russian forces moved into Ukraine.
The deployment, according to the USAF, “enhances defensive posture and amplifies the alliance’s interoperability.” Besides Washington, western European nations are also deploying F-35s in allied nations and airspace near Russia, notably Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, and Romania. For instance, the Netherlands deployed its 4 F-35 fighter jets for NATO’s air policing mission in Bulgaria.
“The deployment of the F-35 certainly demonstrates the maturity of NATO forces operating this fifth Gen platform and demonstrates that they’re prepared to protect the NATO alliance flying the most lethal fighter that exists today,” Flynn says.
While many consider the F-35’s capabilities in the current conflict to be limited to deterring Russia, Flynn says, “As a deterrent, I think it would be naive to underestimate the capability, effectiveness, and lethality of F-35s.”

F-35 In Ukraine-Like Conflict
According to US policymakers and military leaders, there is no circumstance in which it will send F-35s to Ukraine. That such an operation would undoubtedly worsen the Ukrainian war, isn’t even a matter of open debate. However, the F-35 is already having an indirect influence on Europe, as countries assess their capabilities in the aftermath of Russia’s aggression.
One major aspect is that F-35’s deployment across Eastern Europe might discourage Russian forces from expanding their missions beyond Ukraine. Nevertheless, this powerful aircraft is capable of dominating a battleground akin to what Ukraine is currently facing.
Flynn explained the F-35’s significance in such settings, saying, “the F 35 is a key enabler within the NATO forces and one of the specialty mission sets that it performs is suppression of enemy air defenses or SEAD, as we call it, the capability to destroy surface to air missiles, ground defenses, and to establish air superiority and ultimately air dominance.”
“From there, the forces would be able to open corners to permit the air attacks on Russian ground forces. That’s what the F-35 is capable of doing in highly contested environments like Ukraine,” he added.
While many experts have claimed in recent years that the F-35 could be detected by Russia’s most advanced air defense system S-400, Flynn contends that “the F-35 was designed specifically to operate in those high threat environments and the NATO air forces that operate F-35 train specifically to this high-end mission where fourth-generation fighters could not survive.”
“F-35s operate without being detected around high threat surface-to-air-missiles like S-400 to accomplish its missions if it’s needed to it would detect, target and destroy those threats, but it can operate without ever being detected by them,” he said.
“We all hope that the F-35 would never be used in Ukraine, but if it does, it will be devastation on Russian forces,” Flynn said.


Flaws in F-35 Fighter Jet?
The F-35 is unquestionably the most prized asset of the US military. However, its performance has been repeatedly questioned by critics. According to a testing report, engineers are currently attempting to correct 845 design flaws.
The difficulty is exacerbated by the fact that new faults are identified almost as quickly as existing flaws are rectified. Many of these “deficiencies,” as the Pentagon prefers to refer to them, are related to cyber vulnerabilities.
Flynn argued, “The F 35 is the most-watched, most-scrutinized and most-critiqued, aircraft program in history.”
“It is because the F-35 is the largest development program in history that it attracts so much attention here in the US and with the international customers that might buy it now,” according to the former F-35 test pilot.
“The aircraft testing program lasted 10 years, and was the most complex and comprehensive test program in history,” Flynn says.
“Zero aircraft were lost in the five years since that program. So it flew, it was a test program for 10 years. Now, five years after that it continues to gather tremendous support from the air forces that operate it.”
He goes on to explain that with 8.6 million lines of software code, it’s a spaceship that collects data. And it took a massive engineering effort to go from design to flying testing.
“For many years, I was F-35’s Senior Test Pilot for Lockheed Martin, and it was an enormously difficult program to design flight test, and then mature,” he noted.
Flynn also listed the number of countries that have ordered or are presently operating the F-35, and added, “F-35 is the world standard and it will be decades before adversaries can catch up to the capability of this aircraft. The F-35 will continue to advance his capabilities into the future.”

More Than Just A Stealth Fighter?
The F-35 is recognized for having a new generation of sensor technologies and powerful computer processing to aid in the monitoring of other aircraft and ground units.
The data link technology aboard the F-35 allows it to send intelligence data to other F-35s and ground control stations. This permits ground forces to get time-sensitive intelligence information from F-35s in the middle of an operation.
Flynn noted that the F-35 transforms not just the air forces in which it operates, but the whole armed forces are compelled to adapt how they function in terms of joint capability owing to the capabilities that it brings.
“It’s not just as a fighter, but also as an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance [ISR] platform, it is the backbone of the United States Air Force for decades to come for the NATO armed forces, there are over 3000 F-35 to be built in the program of record,” he added.
He said that every nation acknowledges the necessity of low-observable technology, noting the growing number of countries developing stealth aircraft.
Meanwhile, the F-22 Raptor is another US-made stealth aircraft, which is also one of four in use worldwide. The J-20, a Chinese fighter jet, went into major production in late 2021 but has yet to see action. The Su-57 is a Russian fighter jet that has only been used in a few short flights in Syria.
Flynn, however, says there is no comparison between the Su-57, J-20, or J-31 with the F 22 and F 35. “Building an aircraft that looks like it has a geometrically stealth enabled platform is only a fraction of what it takes to build a true fifth Gen fighter aircraft that is not observable in all spectrum.”
He also highlighted that the computing power of sensor fusion that exists in F-22 and F-35 would be an enormously complex task that Russia and China will not match for a decade or more to come.
According to Flynn, the F-35 and F-22 have dominance not just because they are stealth platforms, but also because of the information processed by the aircraft and the data collected by the sensors.
That information is supplied to the pilot for them to be able to carry out their tasks and see everything that exists around them, as well as target them with extreme accuracy.
He concluded by saying, “That’s the key element of F-35’s effectiveness, not just because it’s stealthy; it is decades until a Su-57, J-20, or J-31 would ever match the capability of F 35.”

Guaranteed by Flynn. 8)
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Unread post10 May 2022, 23:50

May/June 2022 Wings Magazine

Test pilot Billie Flynn on the formidable F-35

https://cdn.coverstand.com/777/746660/4305f893a47794b4fd6f13b79926316a1464145c.pdf
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Unread post11 May 2022, 15:18

Salute!

Thanks a bunch, Doge. Best two comprehensive articles I have seen in many moons.

First, Billy's comments WRT the hundreds of "design flaws" or whatever the pencil pushers found needs more explanation. Many of the "flaws" may have simply been paperwork items where the manufacturer had a non-standard part or fitting or.... Then there are the pissant other items that a part was not on a certain list of preferred doofers. Then things like lack of an ash tray! OOOooooops. Real people quit smoking in 1964! But one critic of the Navy A-6 bitched about a new ash tray costing $800! Hell yeah, as Grumann didn't make spare ashtrays and a civil service "fabricator for life" had to make one outta spare sheet aluminum or something. Oh well, I flew the Viper in the very early days and saw a hundred of the "design flaws", none of which bothered me except the lack of a relief tube.

Secondly, Billy's comment at range pointed to the Viper and not the Tiffie or other jet, and certainly not the mudhen. He should talk about that more, as the little jet had amazing holding times with a full load of missiles and centerline tank. Ditto for range, and my 7 pounds per mile rule of thumb for RTB, and less for cruise if already at altitude ( Gums' law 2.3) can be checked if you have an old manual. So basically a mile per gallon. From 300 miles away from base at sea level, that's 2100 pounds to climb to 35,000 ft, cruise at 0.8 M or so, and descend. Was about same as the Sluf, as a matter of fact. On that sucker, we came back from Hanoi at 40,000 ft, 0.8 M+ and looked at 1500 pounds per hour with two tanks, two ECM pods, 2xAIM-9 and 2xMERs. Viper more sensitive to drag than Sluf due to airframe design.

So for air defense, loiter time is a biggie for planning and actual combat. Look at the Viper manual and you will be surprised at the times and fuel requirements for a reasonable A2A loadout.

Gums sends...
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Unread post11 May 2022, 15:32

Ref “designs flaws” that’s the authors lay reference (to be gentle about it) to the official term “deficiency” used in flight test. We’ve (me) have had this discussion around here from time to time in years past. I’ll find one example. More to follow.
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Unread post11 May 2022, 15:37

From March 2018 on this website —

28 Mar 2018 05:00
"Deficiency" is a formally defined reference used in developmental flight test to identify issues worthy of a fix or change. Generally speaking, 'deficiencies' are catgorized by degree or severity and consequence; they are not all the same. Some might be as simple as changing the color or the apparent thickness of a line on a display; some affect safety of flight and become "fix before fly again" kind of things.

In a world where the average joe or judy tend to reference technical matters in relation to their cars or smart phones, the idea that anything is flying around or accepted with 'deficiencies' is an affront to their fundamental sensibilities. It makes some people crazy -- "...why would anyone pay this much money for anything with 'deficiencies' or 'defects'?" The reality is that some deficiencies are never corrected and jets fly around with those deficiencies for the life of the program; all of em...take your pick -- F-15,16,18, SH, et al.”

And this reference — http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a403457.pdf

"A DR should also be submitted when failure is not suspected, but an investigation is needed. DRs should be submitted on all test programs, even if no corrective action is anticipated. Such documentation provides valuable program history and research data to support present and future program development and acquisition management decisions."
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Unread post11 May 2022, 15:46

And for those unfamiliar, (and as gums well knows, and we’ve discussed around here before) every aircraft in the US inventory is flying around today with unresolved “deficiencies.” A “deficiency” is not necessarily a “flaw.”
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Unread post11 May 2022, 16:00

In the F-22 / F-119 program, we FSRs were encouraged by the government to submit Deficiency Reports whenever we saw something that didn’t work properly or wore out prematurely. If there was no DR history on an issue, you could never get finding to fix it. As stated, just because a DR was submitted doesn’t mean that the jet couldn’t perform and many issues are never fixed until the quantity of DRs or the impact worsened enough to get the issue funded. Many DRs are never closed.
Last edited by f119doctor on 11 May 2022, 21:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post11 May 2022, 17:43

Salute!

Thanks, quick.

Ask the other dino here, aka Outlaw, and he and I and a few others here have flown thousands of hours with known "flaws" and we are here to comment from the peanut gallery. I can look at most any new contract and find many "flaws" or actual failure to meet the spec. BFD.

My gut tells me that the anti-35 gaslighting has more to do withpolyticks and some aerospace influence in the government than just admitting they lost the contract.

Gums sends....
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Unread post12 May 2022, 14:22

Salute!

Good to get confirmation from others - thanks.

Worst DR I flew with for over a thousand hours was in the A-37, whose roll authority was lousy. According to our test team the thing did not even meet USAF spec. Maybe Roscoe might see this and comment, as he had time in the little jet.

Cessna tried to help with the "B" model using spoilers and servotabs that actuated when torque was above "x". Helped, but stick forces still high and the thing still did not roll anything like the original "T" version. We had to use a lotta pro roll rudder when pulling any gees at all coming off tgt. In fact, if AoA got too high you couldn't roll out at all until you unloaded. Made for scary moments at night under the flares on a hazy night with an assymetric load ( Mk-82 drop on first pass and other retained).

Gums sends...
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Unread post12 May 2022, 17:02

As of December 2021, of the 826 open deficiencies, the program office characterized four as category 1 and 822 as category 2. This represents seven fewer open category 1 deficiencies than we reported in March 2021. According to program officials, initial fixes for all four category 1 deficiencies have been implemented and are awaiting verification. Specifically, two fixes are expected to be verified through testing in the first half of 2022. One other is expected to be closed in the middle of 2022. The final category 1 deficiency is under investigation and is expected to require technology development to resolve. According to program officials, the program office does not plan to resolve all of the category 2 deficiencies because the program office, in consultation with the warfighters and contractors, have determined that they do not need resolution.


The actual language from the most recent GAO report. My emphasis added.
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Unread post12 May 2022, 18:09

Quote page above EDITED added below - same as GIF graphic: https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-22-105128.pdf (1.5Mb)
Attachments
Deficiencies Corrected Cost Growth & Schedule Delays gao-22-105128 Apr 2022.pdf
(171.28 KiB) Downloaded 8 times
F-35 Deficiencies Corrected GAO 28apr2022.gif
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Unread post13 May 2022, 08:53

quicksilver wrote:And for those unfamiliar, (and as gums well knows, and we’ve discussed around here before) every aircraft in the US inventory is flying around today with unresolved “deficiencies.” A “deficiency” is not necessarily a “flaw.”


I'd say that every aircraft anywhere is flying with unresolved "deficiencies". I'd add that almost any complex product ever produced is going to have some deficiensies. I think problem here really is that people think about word "flaw" when they see word "deficiency". Another problem is that the F-35 program is extremely transparent with their reporting while that's not the case with most other programs like earlier US programs or programs in other countries. So non-professional people don't have any kind of reference point to compare these deficiency reports. For professional people F-35 deficiency reports sound extremely good especially given the complexity of the aircraft.
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Unread post13 May 2022, 18:40

Must be an echo in this room…
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Unread post14 May 2022, 08:49

Gums wrote:Worst DR I flew with for over a thousand hours was in the A-37, whose roll authority was lousy. According to our test team the thing did not even meet USAF spec. Maybe Roscoe might see this and comment, as he had time in the little jet.

Cessna tried to help with the "B" model using spoilers and servotabs that actuated when torque was above "x". Helped, but stick forces still high and the thing still did not roll anything like the original "T" version. We had to use a lotta pro roll rudder when pulling any gees at all coming off tgt. In fact, if AoA got too high you couldn't roll out at all until you unloaded. Made for scary moments at night under the flares on a hazy night with an assymetric load ( Mk-82 drop on first pass and other retained).


The spin rides at TPS were heavily scripted, no doubt to keep us out of those nasty bits in the flight envelope; I don't recall this ever being an issue or even discussed. Of course that was 30 years ago and I can't remember what I had for lunch today #gasp #I'mGettingOld

As for all airplanes having DRs, I was the lead performance test dude (range, ceiling, etc...) for the B-2 for a couple of years in the very early days, and that baby was not meeting the range spec (what do you expect from an airplane designed by electrical engineers). My boss directed me to draft a DR, and on the form was a block asking for the next higher assembly. I entered "Squadron".
Roscoe
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USAF Test Pilot School 92A

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