F-35 conducts its first flight with TR-3

Cockpit, radar, helmet-mounted display, and other avionics
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Unread post10 Jan 2023, 17:14

F-35 Conducts First Flight with TR-3
11 Jan 2023 F-35 Joint Program Office Public Affairs

"A developmental test team from the 461st Flight Test Squadron conducted the first flight of an F-35 in the Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3) configuration on January 6, at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Maj. Ryan “BOLO” Luersen, a U.S. Air Force experimental test pilot, piloted the mission in tail number AF-7, a specially instrumented flight test aircraft and the first with TR-3 upgrades installed. He executed a functional check flight (FCF) profile to verify aircraft airworthiness and system stability. The 50-minute flight, which took the jet to 35,000 feet at speeds just shy of the speed of sound above the Mojave Desert, marked the start of an extensive flight test campaign. Developmental and operational test flights will continue through 2023 to ensure safety and prove warfighting capabilities.

“This is a significant achievement for the F-35 program, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Mike Schmidt, program executive officer, F-35 Joint Program Office. “TR-3 is the F-35’s critical computer processing electronics upgrade that will continue to provide all our pilots with the capability they need to be successful against any adversary. There is still a lot of work to do and I am confident that our industry partners and government team will get the job done.”

TR-3 provides the computational horsepower to support modernized Block 4 capabilities for the F-35 including: new sensor suites, more long-range precision weapons, improved electronic warfare features, more powerful data fusion, and increased cross-platform interoperability. These capabilities provide the warfighter a combat-edge to identify, track, engage, and survive against advanced air, ground, and cyber threats. TR-3 significantly updates core processing power and memory capacity, which will allow the F-35 to run advanced software packed with state-of-the-art warfighting capabilities.

"The F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards AFB is proud to have executed yet another first-flight within the F-35 program,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher Campbell, commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force. “Technology Refresh 3 modernizes the computational core of the F-35 air vehicle. Therefore, new TR-3 hardware and software affect nearly every aircraft feature. Today's event was just the start of a comprehensive flight test campaign that will both verify and improve the safety, stability, and performance of the whole F-35 weapon system in this new configuration."

Photo: "An F-35A, in flight above the Mojave Desert in California, January 6, 2023. A developmental test team from the 461st Flight Test Squadron conducted the first flight of an F-35 in the Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3) configuration at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The 50-minute flight, which took the jet to 35,000 feet at speeds just shy of the speed of sound above the desert, marked the start of an extensive flight test campaign. TR-3 provides the computational horsepower to support modernized Block 4 capabilities. The F-35 Joint Program Office is the Department of Defense's focal point for the 5th-generation strike aircraft for the Navy, Air Force, Marines, and our allies. The F-35 is the premier multi-mission, 5th-generation weapon system. Its ability to collect, analyze and share data is a force multiplier that enhances all assets in the battle space: with stealth technology, advanced sensors, weapons capacity, and range. The F-35 has been operational since July 2015 and is the most lethal, survivable, and interoperable fighter aircraft ever built." https://www.dvidshub.net/download/image/7583880 (8.2Mb)


Source: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/436507/f- ... -with-tr-3
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Unread post11 Jan 2023, 00:27

BIG NEWS :D
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Unread post12 Jan 2023, 15:07

https://news.northropgrumman.com/news/r ... S4wLjAuMA..

BALTIMORE – Jan. 11, 2023 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) is developing AN/APG-85, an advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for the F-35 Lightning II. Northrop Grumman currently manufactures the AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire control radar, the cornerstone to the F-35 Lightning II's sensor suite.

The AN/APG-85 is an advanced multifunction sensor that will be compatible with all variants of the F-35 aircraft and will be capable of defeating current and projected adversarial air and surface threats.

The development and integration of APG-85 will incorporate some of the latest technologies available and help ensure air superiority. This advanced sensor will provide unparalleled battlespace situational awareness that translates into platform lethality, effectiveness and survivability.

Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development, modernization, sustainment and production of the F-35. In addition to producing the AN/APG-85 and AN/APG-81 radars, the company manufactures the center fuselage and wing skins for the aircraft, produces and maintains several sensor systems, avionics, mission systems and mission-planning software, pilot and maintainer training systems courseware, electronic warfare simulation test capability, and low-observable technologies.

To learn more about Northrop Grumman’s role on the F-35 Lightning II, visit this website.

Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.
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Unread post12 Jan 2023, 15:15

Thanks for the info ruderamronbo! :thumb:

So the APG-85 is also a Northrop Grumman product.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post13 Jan 2023, 06:44

F-35 undergoes first test flight with TR-3 hardware, software upgrades
11 Jan 2023 Stephen Losey

"WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force on Friday [last week 06 Jan] conducted the first test flight of an F-35 loaded with a series of upgrades known as Technology Refresh 3. The successful test flight marks a step toward loading the fighter with improved computer memory and processing power, and it lays the groundwork for a major modernization effort known as Block 4....

...In a November 2022 interview with Defense News, Lockheed Martin’s director of F-35 domestic engagement, Edward Smith, said TR-3 will provide the “backbone” for Block 4. [ https://www.defensenews.com/industry/20 ... to-change/ ]

Those capabilities will include new sensors, the ability to carry more long-range precision weapons, more powerful data fusion, increased interoperability with other platforms, and advanced electronic warfare capabilities, the Pentagon said. This will improve the F-35′s ability to spot, track and engage, as well as survive against, a variety of threats in the air, on the ground and in cyberspace, the Pentagon added.

The development of TR-3 proved difficult and more expensive than expected. Last year, the Government Accountability Office said the increased complication of TR-3 drove the cost of the Block 4 modernization effort up by $330 million in 2021.

The JPO’s statement acknowledged TR-3′s “technical complexity challenges,” but said it “is now on-track to deliver capability to the U.S. and its allies starting in 2023.”

“Lessons learned in the execution of the TR-3 program will be applied across the entire Block 4 modernization program,” the JPO said. The first F-35s that will come with TR-3 already installed will be part of lot 15, which is now under construction. The finalized contract for lots 15 through 17 was announced Dec. 30, and Lockheed expects to start delivering lot 15 fighters in the second half of 2023.

The improved capabilities of this batch of fighters, including TR-3, are among several factors increasing the fighter’s average cost. More developmental and operational test flights will continue throughout 2023 to ensure fighters loaded with TR-3 are safe, and the jet’s combat capabilities work.

Lt. Col. Christopher Campbell, commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force, said TR-3 will “affect nearly every aircraft feature” in the future. “Today’s event was just the start of a comprehensive flight test campaign that will both verify and improve the safety, stability and performance of the whole F-35 weapon system in this new configuration,” Campbell said."

Photo: "06 Jan 2023 An F-35A takes off from Edwards Air Force Base, California, on January 6, 2023. A developmental test team from the 461st Flight Test Squadron conducted the first flight of an F-35 in the Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3) configuration at the base. The 50-minute flight, which took the jet to 35,000 feet at speeds just shy of the speed of sound above the Mojave Desert, marked the start of an extensive flight test campaign. TR-3 provides the computational horsepower to support modernized Block 4 capabilities...." https://www.dvidshub.net/download/image/7583873 (1.3Mb)


Source: https://www.defensenews.com/air/2023/01 ... -upgrades/
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Unread post19 Jan 2023, 21:31

Flight Testing Paces Delivery Of Next F-35 Upgrade
18 Jan 2023 Steve Trimble

"A critical avionics refresh for the Lockheed Martin F-35 had been due to enter production later this year, but program officials now offer no firm timeline as a yearlong series of flight tests begins. The Technology Refresh-3 (TR-3) program originally was expected to deliver a new integrated core processor, display system and aircraft memory unit starting with the first Lot 15 aircraft.

Two years ago, program officials acknowledged in congressional testimony that they were hedging for a slight delay for TR-3 deliveries, with the acquisition of about 30 TR-2 sets of hardware to avoid a break in the production line.

But program officials now say they are waiting for flight test data before TR-3 is approved to enter production on Lot 15 aircraft. “The timing of deliveries will depend on the results of the flight testing,” a Joint Program Office (JPO) spokesman says.... [then complicated 'WHAT IFS' so best read at source]

...If TR-3 is not available on time, the JPO has informed the Government Accountability Office that it has options to keep F-35 production on track. If hardware testing is complete, the JPO can install TR-3 avionics on Lot 15 F-35s without the latest software, which could be retrofitted later. If the hardware also is delayed, Lot 15 jets can be delivered with TR-2 hardware and software until retrofits are available. But any such delay also creates timing issues for other Block 4 upgrades expected in Lots 16 and 17, including an electronic warfare upgrade coming in 2024 and a new radar arriving in 2025."

Source: https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... 35-upgrade
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Unread post20 Jan 2023, 01:29

spazsinbad wrote:
Flight Testing Paces Delivery Of Next F-35 Upgrade
18 Jan 2023 Steve Trimble

"A critical avionics refresh for the Lockheed Martin F-35 had been due to enter production later this year, but program officials now offer no firm timeline as a yearlong series of flight tests begins. The Technology Refresh-3 (TR-3) program originally was expected to deliver a new integrated core processor, display system and aircraft memory unit starting with the first Lot 15 aircraft.

Two years ago, program officials acknowledged in congressional testimony that they were hedging for a slight delay for TR-3 deliveries, with the acquisition of about 30 TR-2 sets of hardware to avoid a break in the production line.

But program officials now say they are waiting for flight test data before TR-3 is approved to enter production on Lot 15 aircraft. “The timing of deliveries will depend on the results of the flight testing,” a Joint Program Office (JPO) spokesman says.... [then complicated 'WHAT IFS' so best read at source]

...If TR-3 is not available on time, the JPO has informed the Government Accountability Office that it has options to keep F-35 production on track. If hardware testing is complete, the JPO can install TR-3 avionics on Lot 15 F-35s without the latest software, which could be retrofitted later. If the hardware also is delayed, Lot 15 jets can be delivered with TR-2 hardware and software until retrofits are available. But any such delay also creates timing issues for other Block 4 upgrades expected in Lots 16 and 17, including an electronic warfare upgrade coming in 2024 and a new radar arriving in 2025."

Source: https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... 35-upgrade


Much of the F-35's export success in the past two years (i.e. Canada, Germany, and Finland) was predicated upon the availability of Block 4; America is also undoubtedly leaning heavily into Block 4, both in terms of expanding the arsenal and other upgrades. This year is going to cement the F-35 in the F-16's league or kill it. Edwards AFB has its work cut out for them.
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Unread post21 Jan 2023, 16:19

F-35 Flies for the First Time with Tech Refresh 3 John A. Tirpak [2 page PDF of article attached]
AIR & Space Forces Magazine January-February 2023
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Unread post22 Jan 2023, 13:22

jhk wrote:This year is going to cement the F-35 in the F-16's league or kill it

There's no viable alternative, so it's already a foregone conclusion. F-35 is getting bought by countries which were previously split between F-16 and F-18. It's perhaps more limited by policy than testing. Middle East would gobble F-35s if they were allowed to.
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Unread post22 Jan 2023, 22:07

magitsu wrote:
jhk wrote:This year is going to cement the F-35 in the F-16's league or kill it

There's no viable alternative, so it's already a foregone conclusion. F-35 is getting bought by countries which were previously split between F-16 and F-18. It's perhaps more limited by policy than testing. Middle East would gobble F-35s if they were allowed to.

Exactly, if Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, etc....were allowed F-35s, that would probably represent at least 500 aircraft if not more. Turkey would be another 100+. India would probably be 50-100. That's ~700+ sales that are off the table.
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Unread post23 Jan 2023, 02:59

wrightwing wrote:
magitsu wrote:
jhk wrote:This year is going to cement the F-35 in the F-16's league or kill it

There's no viable alternative, so it's already a foregone conclusion. F-35 is getting bought by countries which were previously split between F-16 and F-18. It's perhaps more limited by policy than testing. Middle East would gobble F-35s if they were allowed to.

Exactly, if Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, etc....were allowed F-35s, that would probably represent at least 500 aircraft if not more. Turkey would be another 100+. India would probably be 50-100. That's ~700+ sales that are off the table.


Also, while the Biden Administration may have been reluctant to sell the F-35s to some of the Gulf States in the past. The US Economy like much to the World isn't doing so well at the moment. Plus, this doesn't count the Billions upon Billions being spent on the War in Ukraine.

In short hard to see the US turning away potential military sales in the tens of billions of dollars!
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Unread post23 Jan 2023, 03:18

Sooner or later India is going to have to face reality? As projects like the TEDBF and LCA MK II are pure fantasy! While, the 5th Generation AMCA won't arrive before 2040 at the earliest! Even then it will already be a Generation behind....


Let's also not forget that China will have two Stealth Fighters (J-20 and J-31/J-35) in the not to distance future. While, the odds favor China providing at least one of them (J-31?) to Pakistan. This means India will most likely face Stealth Fighters on two fronts as early as 2030...


In short time for India to get off the fence and actually come up with some sort of viable plan. As the current course is on a road to nowhere...........


:shock:

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