Update: F-35 Block 4 Upgrades and New F-35B At-Sea Users

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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Dragon029

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Unread post15 Jun 2021, 04:03

Corsair1963 wrote:What Lot are we on now???


Lot 13 (I just use Lot 15 being delivered in 2023 as a point of reference).
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Unread post15 Jun 2021, 07:02

Dragon029 wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:What Lot are we on now???


Lot 13 (I just use Lot 15 being delivered in 2023 as a point of reference).



Sorry, just thinking out loud. As Lot 16 will have improvements like "Sidekick".
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steve2267

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Unread post15 Jun 2021, 14:20

Has Sidekick been formally included in the Block 4 upgrades? If so, when will it be introduced? Block 16 for sure?

I have not read of any weaons release flight testing for it, nor when such testing might be on the schedule? Same goes for SDB II testing.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post16 Jun 2021, 15:59

steve2267 wrote:Has Sidekick been formally included in the Block 4 upgrades? If so, when will it be introduced? Block 16 for sure?

I have not read of any weaons release flight testing for it, nor when such testing might be on the schedule? Same goes for SDB II testing.


All I've seen to date of SDB2 flight trials is carriage internally with AIM-120, no releases seen yet.
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Unread post16 Jun 2021, 23:11

FOR THE DATE when BLOCK FOUR emerges....
Brown: NGAD Will be a Multirole Fighter
16 Jun 2021 John A. Tirpak

"...During the hearing, Brown also confirmed that the Air Force’s reason for not including more F-35s on its unfunded priorities list is that it [USAF] prefers to wait for the more advanced Block 4 version of the jet. The F-35 we have today is not necessarily the F-35 we want to have that goes into the future, that will have Tech Refresh 3 and Block 4 against an advancing … Chinese threat,” Brown said.

The Air Force has put more F-35s on its unfunded priority list for the last several years and Congress has obliged, adding 12 jets every year to the Air Force’s request for 48. However, members of the HASC in previous hearings this year have said they would fight against adding more F-35s to USAF’s request because the previous adds have exacerbated parts shortages and lowered the aircraft’s mission capable rates.

Brown emphasized that, while there were F-15EXs in the Unfunded Priority List, that move is meant to swiftly try to reduce the average age of the fighter fleet, which now is about 29 years old. “Even with the unfunded priority list, the majority of new fighters we’re going to buy will be F-35s,” Brown said. But the Air Force did put F-35 sustainment items in the list because improvement in this area is a critical priority, he said.

Internal documents obtained by Air Force Magazine have shown the service intends to reduce its F-35 buy through the rest of the Future Years Defense program to about 43 per year, in anticipation of Block 4 aircraft, which start coming off the production line sometime after 2025. The Government Accountability Office recently reported further slips in that timeline."

Source: https://www.airforcemag.com/ngad-multir ... 5-block-4/
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Unread post17 Jun 2021, 16:48

Interesting...
Block 3F, with a F like "final"..... But it's a never ending story.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post17 Jun 2021, 18:01

bonplan wrote:Interesting...
Block 3F, with a F like "final"..... But it's a never ending story.



welcome to the world of software and aircraft upgrades, rookie. Support until retirement is actually a good thing, ask the legacy hornet community as they slam into early retirement. You want the aircraft updated until the very end to keep them as current as possible.

So glad he's banned
Choose Crews
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ricnunes

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Unread post17 Jun 2021, 18:54

bonplan wrote:Interesting...
Block 3F, with a F like "final"..... But it's a never ending story.


Just like the [Rafale] F3R which was preceded by F1 and F2 and to be succeed by F4... it's a never ending story. :roll: :doh:
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post17 Jun 2021, 19:59

bonplan wrote:Interesting...
Block 3F, with a F like "final"..... But it's a never ending story.

Kind of like every other aircraft in service (or that's been in service). Each new significant iteration in design gets either a letter or Block update (i.e. F-15A/B/C/D/E, F-16C Block 25/30/40/50/60/70, Typhoon Tranche 1/2/3, Rafale F1/2/3/4, Su-27/30/33/34/35....)
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Unread post15 Jul 2021, 21:00

F-35: The Most Advanced Node in the 21st Century Warfare [Tech Refresh 3 in LOT 15]
15 Jul 2021 LM PR

"In the highly-contested 21st century battlespace, success is determined by the ability to securely connect and share information across domains – air, land, sea, space and cyber.

Enter the 5th Generation F-35: the most advanced node in a 21st Century Warfare network-centric architecture.

The F-35 is already redefining the modern battlespace by sensing and fusing data, and in the near future sharing multi-source data seamlessly across networks. This unmatched capability reduces decision timelines for the joint warfighters and enables sensor-to-shooter connectivity with unprecedented situational awareness across the Joint All Domain Operations (JADO) battlespace.

5th Generation Capabilities Enable Joint Battlespace Operations
The F-35 is more than a fighter jet, it’s a powerful force multiplier with advanced sensors and communications suites operating close to the battlefield and from an elevated position significantly enhancing the capabilities of networked airborne, maritime, space, surface and ground-based platforms. This significantly enhances situational awareness and survivability for the pilot – and the entire joint force – and equips the commanders with critical capabilities and information in seconds.

This game-changing capability has been successfully proven during a series of flight test and exercises, most recently as part of Project Hydra, Northern Edge, Orange Flag and Flight Test-6.

During the recent Flight Test-6 exercise, a Lockheed Martin PAC-3 missile successfully intercepted a surrogate cruise missile threat at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico, using F-35 as an elevated sensor. This U.S. Army flight test marks a first in one flight test – F-35 data contributing to the global track used by the U.S. Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) to live fire a PAC-3.

Enhancing Missile Defense Capabilities
Unlike any other fighter before it, the F-35 offers integrated capabilities that can significantly enhance U.S. missile defense capabilities. There are three areas in which the F-35 can potentially support missile defense – today and in the future:

1. Left of Launch: The best way to stop an incoming missile is to ensure it is never launched in the first place. The F-35’s stealth and advanced sensors allow it to enter contested air space, find, track and destroy missile threats before they are even launched, including mobile threats. The F-35’s delivered today are capable of executing high end, strategic attack missions that can be leveraged to stop missile attacks before they launch.

2. Sensor Node: The F-35 is more than a fighter jet, it’s a powerful force multiplier with an advanced sensor and communications suite that is able to significantly enhance the capabilities and range of networked airborne, surface and ground-based platforms. In the missile defense arena, F-35s can detect and track missile threats at a much closer distance – and are able to connect sensor information between aircraft and queue existing missile defense systems to engage an incoming threat. This enables missile defense systems to see, track and destroy threats sooner and safer. This capability has been demonstrated successfully in various exercises and in order to deliver advanced threat detection to the battlefield, additional work is critical to ensuring F-35s and networked missile defense assets are able to communicate securely and seamlessly.

3. Direct Engagement: The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Review (MDR) states that, “the F-35 Lightning II, can track and destroy adversary cruise missiles today and, in the future, can be equipped with a new or modified interceptor capable of shooting down adversary ballistic missiles in their boost phase.” This mission would require F-35s to be within sensor range of a launching missile threat, while equipped with advanced air-launched interceptors capable of tracking, engaging and defeating a ballistic missile. We look forward to working with the Pentagon to identify the technology roadmap and concept of operations to deliver this critical capability.

Outpacing Emerging Threats
While the F-35 offers unmatched capabilities today, the platform is poised to continue to mature and the F-35 Enterprise will continue to integrate new technologies and capabilities into the F-35 to outpace emerging threats.

The F-35 Advanced Capability Insertion program is enabled by rapid, continuous software upgrades that have already delivered the life-saving Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS) to the F-35 fleet – seven years earlier than previously planned. Capability insertion is included in the upgraded sensor fusion capability in F-35 Production Lot 13 and beyond; integrating enhanced voice and data interoperability in Lot 14, and delivering Tech Refresh 3 (TR-3) in Lot 15."

Source: https://www.f35.com/f35/news-and-featur ... rfare.html


More tech refresh info: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=57935&p=456614&hilit=refresh#p456614
&
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=57652&p=455165&hilit=refresh#p455165
&
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=57697&p=454692&hilit=refresh#p454692 [a million words]
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Unread post17 Jul 2021, 05:29

steve2267 wrote:Has Sidekick been formally included in the Block 4 upgrades? If so, when will it be introduced? Block 16 for sure?

I have not read of any weaons release flight testing for it, nor when such testing might be on the schedule? Same goes for SDB II testing.

Sidekick requires weapon bay modifications being delivered first with Lot 15 aircraft; the exact details aren't specified, but the modification in general is to support tail-heavy weapons; presumably the way that Sidekick staggers AMRAAMs makes it such; AARGM-ER also supposedly requires this modification - it'll most likely just involve adding some new mounts or something to the F-35's ordnance quick latch system hardware on the ceiling of the weapon bays. Beyond that you can think of Sidekick like a weapon that'll just be enabled with some software release following flight testing and the Lot 15 mods, so maybe it'll be enabled by 2023 with Lot 15's first deliveries, or maybe we'll have to wait a couple extra years for flight testing to conclude.

As for flight testing, six test aircraft are being modified to a TR-3 (presumably with the Lot 15 weapon bay mods as well) standard in Q3 of this year, with flight testing of those aircraft to begin in Q2 of 2022. We'll likely see Sidekick get tested either during that or relatively soon afterwards.

GBU-53 SDB II / Stormbreaker flight testing, there's a chance that it's begun with these two photos being released back in May; I haven't found any other source for those images, so there's a chance they're fake, but if they are fake they've been done extremely convincingly (maybe they're just hiding out on DVIDS and I just haven't been able to find the right search term).
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Unread post19 Jul 2021, 02:13

Blew those up and zoomed in, looked for shading and shadow anomalies, they look real.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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Unread post19 Jul 2021, 02:22

Attachments
F-35BbayOpenSDB-IIzoom.jpg
F-35BbayOpenSDB-II.jpg
F-35BoneBayOpenSDB-II.jpg
F-35BoneBayOpenSDB-IIzoom.jpg
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Unread post23 Jul 2021, 14:30

That cycle became 12 months. :doh:
https://www.defense.gov/Explore/News/Ar ... -programs/
DOD Officials Testify on Fixed-Wing Tactical, Training Aircraft Programs
JULY 15, 2021 | BY TERRI MOON CRONK, DOD NEWS
For the Defense Department to properly test the systems it intends to buy against expected threats, the DOD must invest now to create a robust test and evaluation infrastructure with live and synthetic environments that is equipped with cutting-edge tools and staffed by people with deep expertise, a DOD official said.
Raymond O'Toole Jr., acting director of operational test and evaluation, testified Tuesday before a House Armed Services Committee panel about the DOD's fiscal year 2022 budget request for fixed-wing tactical and training aircraft programs.

"DOD's mission success and national security reflect the quality of the operational test and evaluation we perform," he said. "A large number of new and complex technologies are in the development and acquisition pipeline, and our adversaries continue to advance their capabilities."
The F-35 Lightning II's Block 4 program is now underway, O'Toole said. He also said the existing development process — known as continuous capability development and delivery — is supposed to deliver a new, tested and verified increment of software every six months. "However, each increment has been flawed, more flawed than expected," he said. "Further, software changes intended to add new capabilities or fix deficiencies have instead introduced stability problems that adversely affected certain existing F-35 functionality."
O'Toole told the panel he is "cautiously hopeful" that the program office's decision to move to a 12-month software cycle will mitigate some of those issues; however, there remains concern that the ability to conduct adequate testing and evaluation is now at a crossroads.
"Simply put, we cannot determine the system's combat credibility nor thoroughly prepare our warfighters if our test and training capabilities are not kept up to date," O'Toole said.
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