Επαναστατικά οπλικά συστήματα όπως λέιζερ, υπερηχητικά όπλα (με ταχύτητες πολλαπλάσιες αυτών του ήχου- 5 Μαχ και άνω), φορητά και ασφαλή δίκτυα και μη επανδρωμένα/ αυτόνομα οχήματα αέρος και εδάφους θα βρίσκονται σε υπηρεσία σε μάχιμους στρατιωτικούς σχηματισμούς μέσα σε μια δεκαετία, αν όχι νωρίτερα, δήλωσε ο υπουργός Στρατού των Ηνωμένων Πολιτείων Αμερικής (ΗΠΑ).

Αντίστοιχες απειλές από την Κίνα και τη Ρωσία- χώρες που αναπτύσσουν επίσης τέτοιες τεχνολογίες- καθιστούν την απόκτηση τέτοιων όπλων απόλυτα απαραίτητη, είπε ο Μαρκ Έσπερ, μιλώντας την προηγούμενη εβδομάδα στο Center for a New American Security, όπου παρουσίασε κάποιες από αυτές τις δυνατότητες που αναπτύσσονται από τον αμερικανικό στρατό, σε συνεργασία με τον χώρο της βιομηχανίας.

Όπως είπε, αναπτύσσονται υπερχητικές τεχνολογίες ως «game changer» όσον αφορά στην νούμερο ένα προτεραιότητα εκσυγχρονισμού: Τα πυρά ακριβείας σε μεγάλες αποστάσεις. Τα υπερηχητικά όπλα μπορούν να ανοίγουν πυρ- εκτοξεύουν βλήματα σε τεράστιες αποστάσεις, εκατοντάδων χιλιομέτρων, «κάτι που μας δίνει μια απίστευτη δυνατότητα να φτάνουμε και να πλήττουμε έναν εχθρό, ή τουλάχιστον να τον συγκρατούμε» όπως είπε. Σημειώνεται πως οι υπερηχητικές ταχύτητες (Μαχ 5 και άνω) είναι πολύ μεγαλύτερες από αυτές των σημερινών τζετ, που μπορούν να πιάνουν Μαχ 3 ή Μαχ 4 το πολύ σε cruise. Επίσης, ειδικοί εκτιμούν πως πύραυλοι cruise ή ακόμα και μη επανδρωμένα αεροσκάφη θα μπορούσαν να τροποποιηθούν για να γίνουν υπερηχητικά.

Δεύτερη προτεραιότητα είναι η ανάπτυξη ενός οχήματος μάχης νέας γενιάς (NGCV) που θα αντικαταστήσει τα Bradley, ενώ, όπως σημείωσε, θα έρθει κάποια στιγμή που τα οχήματα αυτά θα μπορούν να λειτουργούν και αυτόνομα και να συνεργάζονται και με επανδρωμένα οχήματα. Η δυσκολία πάνω σε αυτά είναι ότι θα πρέπει να αποφεύγουν εμπόδια, να λειτουργούν χωρίς GPS και να κινούνται ενώ δέχονται επίθεση, κάτι που η παρούσα τεχνολογία αυτόνομων οχημάτων δεν επιτρέπει, ωστόσο αυτό αναμένεται να συμβεί χάρη σε τεχνολογίες όπως η τεχνητή νοημοσύνη. Ακόμη, αναμένεται να ληφθεί απόφαση αργότερα μέσα στο έτος για το Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, που θα αντικαταστήσει το Humvee.

H τρίτη προτεραιότητα, σύμφωνα με τον Έσπερ, είναι ένα νέο αεροσκάφος μεταφορών ικανό για κάθετη απογείωση και προσγείωση, με αυξημένες δυνατότητες σε σχέση με αυτά που υπάρχουν τώρα, ενώ η τέταρτη έχει να κάνει με τη δημιουργία ενός στρατιωτικού δικτύου επικοινωνίας που θα μπορεί να κινείται μαζί με τα στρατεύματα και να παρέχει δυνατότητες ασφαλούς επικοινωνίας. Η πέμπτη προτεραιότητα έχει να κάνει με την αεροπορική και αντιπυραυλική άμυνα, με έμφαση στην αντιμετώπιση των μη επανδρωμένων αεροσκαφών (drones). Ενδεικτικά, ο Έσπερ σημείωσε πως ως το 2020 ο αμερικανικός στρατός θα έχει μια δύναμη οχημάτων Stryker στην Ευρώπη ειδικά εξοπλισμένων με πυραύλους για την κατάρριψη τόσο επανδρωμένων όσο και μη επανδρωμένων αεροσκαφών- αλλά, όπως τόνισε, αυτό είναι μόνο μεταβατικό μέτρο, καθώς απώτερος σκοπός είναι ο εξοπλισμός των Stryker και το NGCV με όπλα κατευθυνόμενης ενέργειας, όπως λέιζερ, μικροκύματα και ακτίνες σωματιδίων.

Η τελική προτεραιότητα έχει να κάνει με την ενίσχυση του ίδιου του στρατιώτη, με βελτιωμένες διόπτρες νυκτερινής όρασης, βελτιωμένη εκπαίδευση κ.α.

Πηγή: naftemporiki.gr

13 Σχόλια

  1. Gunslinger32

    Ωραία όλα αυτά με τα φουτουριστικά οπλικά συστήματα, αλλά ας λύσουν πρώτα τα προβλήματα στα πιο απλά όπως τα LCS,JSF,CVN NG και εφόσον ωριμάσουν πρώτα εκείνα σε επίπεδο μαζικής σειριακής παραγωγής «μιλάμε» για των πόλεμο των άστρων. Προς το παρόν μένουμε όμως στο έδαφος του πλανήτη που μας φιλοξενεί(και δεν ξέρουμε να εκτιμήσουμε καθώς πρέπει).

    Όσον αφορά την 3η προτεραιότητα «νέου» αεροσκάφους μεταφορών κάθετης απο-προσγείωσης, είναι περσινά ξινά σταφύλια, επειδή οι Γερμανοί το είχαν έτοιμο πριν μερικές δεκαετίες αλλά κάποιοι μέσο του ΝΑΤΟ φρόντισαν να μην προχωρήσει σε μαζική παραγωγή (αλλάζοντας «ξαφνικά» τον νατοϊκό σχεδιασμό*) για να μην τους χαλάσουν το σόου οι γερμαναράδες. Για όσους δεν εχει πέσει το γρόσι η δεν γνωρίζουν ήταν το πρόγραμμα/πρότζεκτ Dornier Do 31 «Kampfzonentransporter» της γερμανικής αεροναυπηγικής εταιρίας.

    Dornier Do 31

    NBMR-4(NATO Basic Military Requirement)

    NBMR-4 was a closely related requirement for V/STOL transport aircraft designs intended to support the fighter and fighter-bomber aircraft at dispersed operating bases. NBMR-22 was a revised specification reducing the range requirement to 500 km.

    Specification NBMR-4 called for a transport aircraft able to carry 12,000 lb (5,440 kg) at over 200 knots (370 km/h) and climbing to 50 ft (15 m) in a horizontal distance of 500 ft (150 m).

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    • Theognostos

      Εγω πάντως περιμένω να βγαλουν την τεχνολογία των φοο μαχητικών απο τον 2ΠΠ κάτι απο την αλλη μερια των βουνων μπενεμουντε…με τωρινή σημερινή ομως παρουσίαση.

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      • Gunslinger32

        Εάν πιάσουν έναν απόγονο του φον Μπράουν με παρόμοια ταλέντα, η αν σουφρώσουν γνώσεις απο άλλους επιστήμονες στην Ευρώπη, μπορεί και να εμφανίσουν ένα επαναστατικό σύγχρονο μοντέλο.

        Αυτά τα «υπέρ-υπερηχητικά» πάντως, αν θυμάμαι σωστά μερικές αναφορές απο το πρόγραμμα SR-71 είναι ένα πανάκριβο άθλημα, που ίσως να εφαρμόζεται μόνο σε περιορισμένους αριθμούς.

        Έτσι νομίζω ότι θα αναβαθμιστεί ο ρόλος του ΗΠ/ΗΕ στις αεροπορίες των ΗΠΑ.

      • SKYHOOK47

        Δεν υπάρχει πλέον τεχνολογία των Ναζί…Όποια τεχνολογία υπήρξε διαμοιράστηκε μεταξύ των νικητών του Β.Π.Π. οι οποίοι και επωφελήθηκαν τα μέγιστα από αυτή…Αν συμβουλευτείτε τους χάρτες της google θα διαπιστώσετε ότι δεν υπάρχει κανένα βουνό στη χερσόνησο Peenemunde…

      • Gunslinger32

        Αυτό εξαρτάτε πως ερμηνεύει κάποιος την αναφορά του φίλου Theognostos,
        ότι υπήρξαν εγκαταστάσεις έρευνας και παραγωγής οπλικών συστημάτων μέσα στα βουνά της Γερμανίας είναι πάντως αποδεδειγμένο και αδιαμφισβήτητο.

        Επειδή γνωρίζω μερικά πράγματα για την γεωγραφία στην Γερμανία, μου είναι γνωστό (χωρίς να συμβουλευτώ έναν χάρτη) ότι στη περιοχή Penemünde δεν υπάρχουν βουνά, εφόσον δεν πρόκειται για ορεινή περιοχή, στη περιοχή του Harz όμως όπου υπήρξαν ανάλογες εγκαταστάσεις όπως στο penemünde βρισκόταν μέσα στα βουνά, για να είναι ασφαλείς απο τα εχθρικά βομβαρδιστικά αεροσκάφη.

        Ίσως να μη το έχετε ακουστά, αλλά στην παρακάτω αναφορά υπάρχουν περισσότερες πληροφορίες σχετικά με τις συγκεκριμένες εγκαταστάσεις, οι οποίες στην ουσία ήταν ένα υπόγειο penemünde όπου γινόταν έρευνα και παραγωγή οπλικών συστημάτων.

        Mittelwerk (German for «Central Works») was a German World War II factory built underground in the Kohnstein to avoid Allied bombing. It used slave labor from the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp to produce V-2 ballistic missiles, V-1 flying bombs, and other weapons.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mittelwerk

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohnstein

        Όσο για την τεχνολογία των ναζί, δεν αναφέρω πουθενά τέτοιο πράγμα στο σχόλιο μου, υπάρχει όμως η τεχνολογία της μεταπολεμικής Γερμανίας, η οποία αποτελεί σήμερα την ραχοκοκαλιά στο ιππικό του ΕΣ με τα γερμανικά άρματα μάχης, στο ΠΝ με τα υποβρύχια AIP και στην ΠΑ με τους σύγχρονους πυραύλους IRIS-T σ αντικατάσταση των Sidewinder απο τις ΗΠΑ.

    • Kostas

      Τα ισραηλινά Φ35 μια χαρά γλεντούν τους Ρώσους στη Συρία.
      Σκέψου δηλαδή τι ακόμα θα κάνουν τα Φ35 όταν τους λύσουν τα προβλήματα που νομίζεις ότι έχουν…..

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      • Gunslinger32

        Ότι να’ναι, ως συνήθως.
        Αν είχες την εντύπωση ότι με ενδιαφέρει η άποψη σου, σε πληροφορώ ότι έκανες λάθος.

      • Kostas

        Επι της ουσίας τίποτα?
        Ή θίγω θέματα που σε στενοχωρούν?

      • Gunslinger32

        Ορίστε μας, θύμωσε ο αγάς και δάγκασε τ’ @@ του(όπως λένε και στο χωριό μου).
        Πάλι λάθος έκανες, εγώ ήμουν αυτός που έθιξε ένα θέμα που σε στεναχωρεί (και μάλιστα έντονα) όπως φαίνεται ξεκάθαρα, εφόσον δεν άντεξες και πετάχτηκες πάλι σαν την π0ρδή απο τα πλάγια, για να μας πεις άλλη μια ιστοριούλα για το «υπερόπλο» που λατρεύεις.
        Όλα αυτά τα μπλα και κρα σου με αφήνουν όμως αδιάφορο επειδή δεν αλλάζουν κάτι στο όλο θέμα για το αγαπημένο σου παιχνιδάκι που είναι αποτυχία.

        Όσο για την ουσία που ζητάς(η οποία απουσιάζει εντελώς απο όλες τις παρατηρήσεις σου), πάρε αυτά που σου δημιουργούν αϋπνίες, εφόσον εσύ ήσουν αυτός που επέμενε με μανία ότι δεν υπάρχουν διαφορετικές εκδόσεις του συγκεκριμένου αεροσκάφους.Αυτά απο εμένα, τα υπόλοιπα μπορείς να τα συζητήσεις με τον κομμωτή σου, ο οποίος πληρώνεται για να ανέχεται τις χαζομάρες που αμολάς.

        Πάρε ουσία, για να μαθαίνεις πως έχουν τα πράγματα στην πραγματικότητα, όχι όπως τα έχεις μπλέξει/μπερδέψει στην φαντασία σου(αφιερωμένο το παρακάτω σεντόνι).

        THE BUZZ
        The F-35 Stealth Fighter’s Dirty Little Secret Is Now Out in the Open
        The U.S. Senate just confirmed what an Air Force general hinted at in February 2016 — and which should have been obvious for years to close observers of U.S. air power.

        The Joint Strike Fighter program is not developing one, common warplane for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and the air arms of America’s closest allies.

        No, the Joint Strike Fighter is actually three different plane designs sharing a basic cockpit, engine and software and a logistical network. The Air Force’s F-35A, the Marines’ F-35B and the Navy’s F-35C should, in all fairness, be the F-35, F-36 and F-37.

        “Despite aspirations for a joint aircraft, the F-35A, F-35B and F-35C are essentially three distinct aircraft, with significantly different missions and capability requirements,” the Senate stated in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017.

        Before the act becomes law, the Senate must reconcile its NDAA with the House of Representative’s own version of the same bill— and Pres. Barack Obama must sign it. The F-35 language could change or disappear in coming months.

        The Senate’s assertion comes just three months after U.S. Air Force lieutenant general Christopher Bogdan, head of the JSF program office, told a seminar audience that the three F-35 models are only 20- to 25-percent common, mainly in their cockpits.

        It’s “almost like three separate production lines,” Bogdan said, according toAir Force magazine. A real joint fighter, the program boss said, is “hard” because each branch is adamant about its requirements. “You want what you want,” Bogdan said.

        The Senate backs up its NDAA language by requiring Bogdan’s office to shut down in 2019, by which time the F-35 should be in full-rate production. The singular Joint Strike Fighter would break up into three separate programs — one each for the Air Force, Marines and Navy. “Devolving this program to the services will help ensure the proper alignment of responsibility and accountability the F-35 program needs and has too often lacked,” the Senate explained.

        To be fair, the Navy tends to oversee most of the Marine Corps’ major weapons-acquisitions efforts. If the Senate’s proposal becomes law, the Navy could open up two new offices to manage the F-35B and F-35C. It’s unlikely the military will redesignate those JSF models as the F-36 and F-37, despite our humble recommendation that it do so.

        The Senate’s push to break up the monolithic JSF organization reflects poorly on Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the $400-billion program. Lockheed sold the F-35 as a “universal” stealth warplane whose different models would be highly compatible in order to simplify production, maintenance and training — and to drive down cost.

        Of course, as the F-35A, F-35B and F-35C have evolved and Lockheed and the government have struggled to solve deeply-ingrained conceptual and design flaws within the program, the three models have grown in separate directions.

        The multi-role F-35A is the lightest and most maneuverable of the three versions — and, at around $150 million per copy as of 2014, the — ahem — “cheapest.” Granted, that price tag is trending downward as order volume increases and Lockheed’s workers gain experience.

        The $250-million, attack-optimized F-35B includes a secondary, downward-blasting engine for short and vertical takeoffs and landings — a feature that the Marines demanded and which has added significantly to the plane’s weight, complexity and cost.

        The Navy’s F-35C — which the sailing branch primarily touts as a stealthy sensor-platform — possesses a bigger wing to allow for low-speed carrier landings and suffers from greater drag than the F-35A does. It cost a staggering $330 million per jet in 2014.

        When the government awarded Lockheed the JSF contract back in 2001, it handed the Maryland-based plane-maker the keys to the main fighter recapitalization efforts for all three U.S. military branches that operate fast jets.

        If the military and lawmakers had recognized then what they admit now — that the JSF is three different planes — the government could have awarded three separate contracts to potentially three different contractors, thus preventing the current fighter monopoly and encouraging diversity and competition within the U.S. aerospace industry.

        The Pentagon alone plans to buy around 2,300 F-35s through at least the 2030s, replacing a wide range of existing planes including F-16s, F/A-18s, AV-8s and A-10s.

        There’s Still No Finish Line in Sight for the F-35 Program

        The stealth jets continue to underperform

        March 26, 2018 Dan Grazier
        Jim Roche, then-secretary of the U.S. Air Force, made an announcement on Oct. 26, 2001, that all aviation enthusiasts had been waiting for. A winner had been picked to design and build the Joint Strike Fighter.

        The American people were assured the new jet would enter service in 2008 and be a high-performance replacement for the military’s aging airframes while only costing between $40 million and $50 million.

        The F-35 has now entered an unprecedented seventeenth year of continuing redesign, test deficiencies, fixes, schedule slippages and cost overruns. And it’s still not at the finish line. Numerous missteps along the way—from the fact that the two competing contractors, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, submitted “flyoff” planes that were crude and undeveloped “technology demonstrators” rather than following the better practice of submitting fully functional prototypes, to concurrent acquisition malpractice that has prevented design flaws from being discovered until after production models were built—have led to where we are now.

        According to the latest annual report from the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation, 263 “high priority” performance and safety deficiencies remain unresolved and unaddressed, and the developmental tests—essentially, the laboratory tests—are far from complete. If they complete the tests, more deficiencies will surely be found that must be addressed before the plane can safely carry our airmen and women into combat.

        Despite this, the F-35 Joint Program Office now intends to call—quite arbitrarily—an end to the plane’s development phase and developmental testing. Instead of completing the presently planned development work, the Program Office is now proposing to substitute a vaguely defined F-35 upgrade program called “continuous capability development and delivery.” The DOT&E report states flatly that this plan, as proposed, is “not executable due to inadequate test resources” in the rapid timelines proposed.

        It doesn’t require inside information to understand that the proposed plan is just a way to hide major development delays and cost overruns while facilitating increased annual production buys of incompletely developed F-35s. Twenty-three fully designed, fully combat-capable F-35s are supposed to begin the all-important—and more rigorous—operational testing before the end of 2018, yet it is impossible to fix the 263 known Priority 1 and 2 deficiencies in time to meet that schedule.

        This clearly doesn’t bother the senior Pentagon officials who are pushing to move forward with production despite the unresolved deficiencies. Already, 235 of the deficiency-ridden aircraft have been nominally designated “combat ready” and delivered to active Air Force and Marine Corps squadrons. The consequences of this plan for safety and effective tactics in operational unit training, let alone combat, are unknown. Defense Department officials who approved cutting short the F-35’s development phase should, and hopefully will, be held accountable when the inevitable consequences in safety, combat effectiveness, and cost overruns emerge.

        As initially advertised, and throughout the program’s development, taxpayers have been told this exorbitantly costly system is necessary to combat advanced future threats. However, testing results show that the planes already delivered cannot even effectively address the currentthreats. That’s a problem.

        Combat capabilities

        In September 2016 then-Air Force secretary Deborah Lee James certified to Congress that the F-35As to be delivered in fiscal year 2018 would have full combat capabilities. James was referring to the Block 3F aircraft to be produced this year. But according to the DOT&E report, the current much-delayed testing schedule means that won’t be possible—they’re not even close to combat-ready. Left unsaid in the report is the uncomfortable fact that the 359 F-35s funded before 2018 are also lacking combat capability.

        The F-35 contract mandates that it must match or exceed the combat capabilities of legacy aircraft, especially in the air-to-air, deep strike, and close air support missions. In the crucial close support mission, the venerable and battle-proven A-10 is one of the aircraft the F-35 was designed to replace. As of now, testing shows the F-35 is incapable of performing most of the functions required for an acceptable close support aircraft, functions the A-10 is performing daily in current combat.

        One of the many deficiencies reported is the F-35’s inability to reliably hit targets with its cannon. The problem is most pronounced with the Air Force’s F-35A, the version of the aircraft that would replace the A-10. This variant has an internally mounted cannon. The F-35B and F-35C both use an externally mounted cannon pod.

        “Flight testing of the different gun systems on the F-35 (internal gun for F-35A and external gun pods for the F-35B and F-35C) revealed problems with effectiveness, accuracy, pilot controls and gunsights displayed in the Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS),” a footnote in the report states. “The synopsis and assessment of specific HMDS problems are classified.”

        For example, the testing teams at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California began conducting air-to-ground tests of the cannon in February 2017, but had to take an extended break when they noticed the sights in the pilot’s Helmet Mounted Display System—the infamous $600,000 helmet—did not line up properly with the cannon. The paused tests were completed more than six months later in September 2017 after a tentative fix had been installed. But the F-35’s cannon still had an “uncharacterized bias toward long and right of the target,” resulting in pilots “consistently missing ground targets during strafe testing.”

        Even if the designers are eventually able to fix the sighting problems, the design of the plane itself hinders using the cannon for the close support mission. Effectively employing the cannon requires the aircraft to fly low and close to the target and to survive ground fire, an impossibility for an aircraft as thin-skinned and highly flammable as the F-35.

        The Joint Program Office and Air Force leaders would have you believe that such deficiencies are minor because shooting targets with a cannon is old-fashioned. They prefer to strike targets from long distances with precision munitions, like the current guided bombs or the yet-to-be-fielded Small Diameter Bomb II. But troops and ground controllers in daily combat in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria know differently and understand just how critical to their survival it is to have an aircraft that can place accurate fire on enemy troops close to their positions.

        In the air-to-air mission, the current F-35 is similarly incapable of matching legacy aircraft like the F-15, F-16 and F-22. For long-range aerial engagements using the existing beyond visual range missile, the AIM-120 medium-range air-to-air missile, the report notes problems integrating the missile with the aircraft, as well as deficiencies with the control and display system. These problems are severe enough that F-35s armed with AMRAAMs cannot “support” the “kill chain,” or the entire process of destroying a target from detection to evaluating the results of a strike.

        Even that is not the end of the combat-related deficiencies. All of the combat capabilities in the F-35 depend on the software running the aircraft’s systems. The program has already gone through multiple major software revisions. The Marine Corps declared its first F-35s operational—that is, combat-ready—with version Block 2B software while the Air Force did the same with Block 3i.

        Both had such limited capabilities that they could not fire guns, short-range air-to-air missiles, or small, close-support-capable guided bombs. Both are to be superseded by the allegedly “fully combat capable” Block 3F software. This latter version is just now entering the fleet, yet its design and testing are still far from complete; it has already received myriad patches, and problems are still being discovered. In October 2017, the program released version 3FR6.32, the 31st version of Block 3F software.

        Important deficiencies remain. The aircraft’s earlier block 2B software version did not allow the pilot to confirm target coordinates sent to the plane’s guided bombs. The new Block 3F “fully combat capable” software allows the pilot to see what coordinates he sent to the weapons, but not the coordinates that are actually loaded into the bomb.

        Without being able to confirm that the coordinates are properly entered into the weapon, it is impossible to be sure it will guide to the intended target. The rules of engagement in combat zones often require pilots to fully confirm to the ground controller that the guided weapon is loaded with the correct target coordinates before firing—an essential precaution to prevent friendly-fire casualties.

        Another problem the F-35 has in a ground attack role is that its systems in many ways hurt rather than help the pilot gain an accurate picture of the battle scene he is supporting. For an A-10 pilot flying low and slow over the battlefield, this process could be as simple as seeing the friendly troops shooting at a target as the ground controller says, “follow my tracers.”

        For an aircraft like the F-35, which needs to fly at altitudes generally over 15,000 feet to remain safe from ground fire, this process has to be done through a video downlink where the ground controller establishes a connection with the F-35 and can see the same screen images as the pilot. In situations where A-10 and F-16 pilots need to do the same, they can get an excellent view of the battlefield through the Sniper and LITENING Advanced Targeting Pods mounted to their aircraft, which are currently flying in combat on a daily basis.

        Pilots flying the F-35 aren’t so fortunate because engineers have not been able to get its video downlink system to work. Instead ground controllers and F-35 pilots at 15,000 feet are forced to try confirming targets by voice radio, a process much hindered by the “poor fidelity” of the images seen through the F-35’s Electro-Optical Targeting System, as reported by DOT&E.

        The F-35 software also lacks the ability to automatically calculate the time at which a weapon launched from the F-35 will impact the target, something the legacy systems are able to do. Ground forces need to know the “time on target” to properly plan a combined arms artillery-air attack or to take cover when calling for “danger close” support strikes. Artillery, mortars and aircraft have to be deconflicted in both time and space so that artillery rounds do not strike the aircraft as they fly over the battlefield.

        Artillery fire suppression missions have to be timed to prevent enemy anti-aircraft fire against the attacking close support planes. Without an accurate TOT calculation, the essential precise timetables can’t be established. “The inability to calculate a TOT limits the ability of the F-35 to participate in [a] complex combined arms environment,” according to the DOT&E.

        F-35 pilots must instead manually calculate the weapon’s time of flight. This not only increases the pilot’s workload, but also adds to the time it takes to complete an already complicated process. For embattled troops on the ground where every second counts, getting a TOT even a few seconds faster can mean the difference between life and death.

        The new DOT&E report provided scant information about the F-35’s air-to-air capabilities. The report did note that tests were conducted by firing six AIM-120 missiles, but few details of the results beyond those discussed above were provided because the information is classified. DOT&E reported in 2016 that the Program Office conducted several successful shots with the missile but there were guidance failures on a few tests resulting in failed shots. The 2017 report does state that the tests revealed “key technical deficiencies in the ability of the F-35 to employ the AIM-120 weapons,” and “[t]he test team discovered several classified missile integration problems as well as pilot‑identified with the controls and displays that affected the combat capability of the F-35 to support the kill chain.”

        The report also says most of the air-to-air testing had to be performed using workarounds to “mitigate limitations induced by outstanding deficiencies that compromised the combat capability of the weapons employment.” As reported in the 2016 report, such workarounds included test controllers having to identify or locate air-to-air targets for the attacking F-35, or having to correct F-35 targeting mistakes. Clearly, the AIM-120 AMRAAM is not working in the F-35, but the exact nature and depth of the multiple problems, as well as the cost and time necessary to fix them, remain unknown.

        Assessing the F-35’s field performance

        While there have been numerous problems uncovered during the laboratory-based developmental testing, more than 200 of which remain unresolved, myriad more are sure to be found during operational testing. Operational tests go way beyond determining in a laboratory setting whether a weapon system can meet its design and contract specifications. They assess how well the weapon actually functions in the hands of the typical combat user and under the most realistic field combat conditions possible.

        In other words, it assesses operational combat suitability. The Department of Defense defines a suitable weapon system as one that “can be placed and sustained satisfactorily in field use with consideration being given to availability, compatibility, transportability, interoperability, reliability, wartime usage rates, maintainability, safety, human factors, habitability, manpower, logistics supportability, natural environmental effects and impacts, documentation and training requirements.”

        During developmental tests in 2017, the F-35 program continued to perform below expectations, which does not bode well for the coming operational test process. “Over the previous year, most suitability metrics have remained nearly the same or moved only within narrow bands, which are insufficient to characterize a trend of performance,” the DOT&E report stated. The entire fleet of 235 operationally deployed aircraft was only available and ready to perform all of the F-35’s intended multiple missions 26 percent of the time—that is, 26 percent was the “fully mission capable” rate.

        Under the much less stringent criterion of being ready to fly just one of its missions, the F-35 fleet showed only 50 percent mission capable rate—a poor result that, disappointingly, hasn’t changed for more than three years and remains below the modest 60 percent single-mission availability-rate goal set by program officials. The bottom line is that even if the F-35 were combat-effective in all of its multiple missions, it would be unavailable to deliver that effectiveness when needed in battle three-quarters of the time.

        The F-35 reliability and maintainability data generated through developmental testing are as bleak as the availability trends. The average flight time between unscheduled maintenance events is 44 to 82 minutes across the three F-35 variants. Time to repair each of these failures is 4.9 to 7.3 average hours. Like availability, the reliability trends show little or no improvement.

        These disappointing repair times are roughly two to three times worse than the current approved and contractually required operational requirement thresholds. The Joint Program Office proposes to solve this major deficiency simply by doubling the allowable repair time threshold for the F-35A and F-35C and increasing it by nearly two and a half times for the F-35B.

        It is significant that the F-35 program has demonstrated little progress in improving these availability, reliability, and maintainability problems. The 50 percent one-mission availability rate has held steady since October 2014, “despite the increasing number of new aircraft.”

        Aircraft fresh from the factory with the latest upgrades should not require as much maintenance as early developmental aircraft with untested components. That they do suggests that the maintenance problems with the F-35 are deeply buried in the design, that the manufacturer is incapable of delivering an effective aircraft, or that the program, even at great expense, is not being adequately managed.

        Evidence of this last point can be seen with the program’s inability to provide necessary spare parts. Indeed, the lack of replacement parts for the F-35 is one of the major factors affecting the low availability rates. This problem is aggravated by mismanagement. According to DOT&E, the “program has been late to stand up organic depot capabilities to repair existing parts that have failed but can be refurbished instead of being replaced with new parts.”

        This is all part of the much larger problem of the defense contractors building themselves permanently into their programs’ operations and maintenance budgets by creating a logistics system that only they can support. The Government Accountability Office highlighted the same problem in an October 2017 report that found the services had to wait an average of 172 days for F-35 spare parts through the Lockheed Martin supply chain.

        However, like the B-2 and F-22 before it, the inherent and excessive complexity of the F-35 design and its long record of fabrication problems—such as inappropriate insulation in fuel tanks—suggest that the F-35’s availability problems are not limited to just parts availability.

        The F-35 has often been described as a “flying computer,” and it was intended to operate as part of an extensive network of other aircraft and ground-based systems. Much of its claimed functionality depends on the complex array of sensors that are supposed to gather information from all of the planes in the same flight group to be processed by the computer — called the fusion engine — in each of the planes into a clear picture of the combat situation for all the pilots in that flight.

        All of this was supposed to reduce the pilot’s workload. The test results show that in multiple cases the opposite is occurring. For example, pilots are supposed to be able to program mission-specific planning data into an Offboard Mission Support workstation. These data files are then carried out to the flight line to be loaded onto the F-35 with a Portable Memory Device.

        Pilots have found that it is taking too long to input and transfer mission plans this way, so instead they are choosing to manually enter their plans while sitting in the cockpit. Equally or more burdensome for the pilot are the multiple false targets or false threats being created by the apparently inherent inability of the F-35’s software to merge into one all of the network’s multiple, somewhat inaccurate position reports for any single target or threat. This also creates more work for the pilots as they have to figure out which targets are real and which aren’t, usually by verbally confirming them with other pilots, the very action the sensor fusion system is intended to replace.

        This increase in workload extends even more seriously to the troubled Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS. This is the massive and complex computer system, owned and operated by Lockheed Martin, that is used for combat mission planning, threat analysis, maintenance diagnosis, parts ordering, maintenance scheduling, and more. DOT&E reports that most of the functions work only with “a high level of manual effort by ALIS administrators and maintenance personnel.”

        For instance, the automatic diagnostics in the program continue to falsely report breakdowns on the aircraft, ordering parts that are not needed and forcing maintenance personnel to waste time trying to fix something they believed was broken only to find out that it wasn’t.

        In addition, the F-35 program, including ALIS, remains critically vulnerable to cyber threats. The new Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, Robert Behler, a retired Air Force major general who most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, has made it a priority to fully test the intricately networked system.

        This will be easier said than done as several testing activities were disrupted in 2017 for reasons like sudden Defense Department policy changes regarding classified equipment security requirements, delayed software deliveries, and “pre-coordination problems” with the contractors administering the ALIS Standard Operating Unit at Edwards Air Force Base.

        The testing that did occur revealed that several of the severe cyber vulnerabilities identified in previous years still have not been fixed. The report did not detail these vulnerabilities, but DOT&E did provide this pessimistic warning and recommendation.

        “According to the [Joint Program Office], the air vehicle is capable of operating for up to 30 days without connectivity to ALIS. In light of current cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities, along with peer and near-peer threats to bases and communications, the F-35 program and Services should conduct testing of aircraft operations without access to ALIS for extended periods of time.”

        DOT&E is signaling their pessimism that ALIS will actually be able to effectively support F-35 combat operations long-term either because it is hacked, or because it simply will not work as intended. This statement says the program office should find a way to fly the F-35 without using ALIS at all.

        The F-35 program is also having difficulties with the seemingly mundane. For example, engineers have struggled to build a proper tire for the Marine Corps’ F-35B. The short-takeoff, vertical landing variant does present unique challenges for the program: the tires on the F-35B need to be soft enough to provide cushioning during vertical landings, strong enough for high-speed landings on a conventional runway, and light enough to fit the aircraft’s tight weight limits.

        The tires are also required to be good for at least 25 conventional landings. So far, the average F-35B tire has only lasted 10 landings before it must be replaced. Each tire costs around $1,500. Unless a better tire can be developed, the Marine Corps will spend approximately $300 per flight hour just for replacements. With an expected lifetime of 8,000 flight hours, taxpayers will spend approximately $2.4 million on tires for each and every F-35B.

        There are numerous other problems that need to be resolved, such as ejection seats that aren’t safe for pilots of all sizes, identifying the cause of hypoxia physiological incidents that a growing number of pilots are experiencing, production line quality lapses, speed and maneuvering restrictions, deficiencies in the helmet display and night vision camera and restrictions in air refueling for the F-35B and F-35C.

        It is for these and several hundred other reasons like them that Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, said we can’t afford to sustain the F-35. DOT&E recommends that the Program Office review the available reliability and maintenance data from the testing process and field operations to obtain a realistic sustainment cost estimate that is based on actual operating data instead of relying on the current optimistic and unsupported estimates of the F-35’s operating costs.

        Congress should get involved and mandate just such a review. Indeed, an inherently complex system like the F-35 may require a higher cost to sustain in the future—well beyond current estimates.

        It’s easy to see why the military reform movement advocates so strongly against overly complex weapon systems. In addition to making weapons unaffordable and decades late in meeting threats, excessive complexity adds extra friction to the inherent chaos of the battlefield. Facing such overwhelming combat pressures, the last things our troops need are additional workloads, uncertainties, delays and maintenance burdens that should have been tested and engineered out of their weapon systems long before being sent to combat. Even worse is to undermine long-term combat effectiveness, training, and readiness by issuing conveniently optimistic cost and suitability guesstimates to serve short term political goals.

        Concurrency issues

        The new annual DOT&E report reveals details about a dominant component of the F-35’s 17 years of acquisition malpractice: its high level of concurrency. Concurrency is a term for the deliberate overlap of development, testing, and production in an acquisition program. The Government Accountability Office has identified this as one of the single biggest drivers of cost and schedule growth in the F-35 program. The GAO also identifies concurrency as a root cause of many of the F-35’s performance shortfalls.

        While the problems with concurrency have been well understood in broad terms, we are now beginning to see the details of how the rush to buy F-35s impacts the development and testing process.

        One of the biggest dangers of rushing hundreds of aircraft into production with an immature design is that they will later have to be retrofitted and retested with the revised design fixes that overcome discovered problems. This is an expensive and time-consuming process, especially considering that the aircraft being fixed were already purchased at full price and that reworking them will result in additional costs that would otherwise not have been incurred.

        Concerns over these very large concurrency costs prompted Air Force leaders to float the idea of leaving 108 F-35s purchased early in the program in their immature state, which could have left taxpayers with $21 billion to $40 billion worth of “concurrency orphans”—aircraft that were paid for but are unsuitable for combat. The Air Force has since backed off from this embarrassing stance.

        As mentioned earlier, the operational testing process requires 23 aircraft. Modifications to bring the test fleet up to date have dragged on for years and will not be complete before the IOT&E process is scheduled to begin. One of the reasons for this delay is that a few of the operational test aircraft have been pulled to supplement the developmental test fleet to help test the fixes for the ever-growing number of test-discovered design deficiencies.

        Yet during this time, the program produced 235 new aircraft to send to squadrons in the operational force. At the very least, this gives the impression that officials are prioritizing buying underdeveloped aircraft needing fixes to send to the fleet. The priority should be completing the design and the developmental tests.

        Despite the public relations pronouncements that the F-35 has achieved “Initial Operational Capability,” the program is actually still in the Low Rate Initial Production phase. The three main purposes of LRIP is to complete manufacturing development, build an adequate number of vehicles for testing purposes, and demonstrate their producibility.

        Per the Defense Department’s acquisition instructions, “LRIP quantities will be the minimum needed to provide production representative test articles for operational test and evaluation (OT&E) (as determined by DOT&E for MDAPS or special interest programs), to establish an initial production base for the system and provide efficient ramp up to full-rate production, and to maintain continuity in production pending completion of operational testing.”

        In at least one respect, the program appears to be failing to meet the LRIP criteria, in that the production base has so far fallen short. The program’s current low availability rates are a direct result of the rush to get the aircraft out to the fleet. In that rush, the fact that the design was still immature and deficiency-ridden was ignored. Many factors impact the availability rate of an aircraft fleet, including maintenance downtime and aircraft-in-depot status for modifications or major repairs.

        The DOT&E reports that the single biggest reason behind the F-35’s poor availability rate is a lack of spare parts, and that program officials made overly optimistic forecasts about the kinds and numbers of replacement parts. The program had designed a stock of spare parts based on how reliable it hoped the F-35 would be rather than on actual flight data and experience.

        Had the program completed the design and testing process before moving into large-scale production, leaders would have gathered the necessary maintenance data to order adequate parts for the fleet. On average in 2017, 21 percent of F-35s were non-mission-capable because they were waiting for replacement parts that had not been bought and stocked.

        The concurrency problem will only be compounded as more and more aircraft are produced. The services will receive 90 new F-35s in 2018. The testing office warns of the folly of a concurrent procurement strategy in these terms.

        “IOT&E, which provides the most credible means to predict combat performance, likely will not be completed until the end of 2019, at which point over 600 aircraft will already have been built.”

        The GAO has reported that the known costs to retrofit all the F-35s that had then been purchased up to 2017 would total nearly $1.77 billion, almost certainly a large underestimate. As more and more aircraft are purchased and the testing process reveals more and more design flaws that need fixing, these costs will only rise.

        The 2017 DOT&E report shows that after 17 years the Joint Strike Fighter Program is still falling far short of combat effectiveness expectations while it continues to experience painful schedule slippages and major cost increases. Congress needs to reconsider its plans to accelerate the funneling of money into increased production of still more untested and incompletely developed F-35s—at least until the approved developmental testing phase has been funded and completed.

        The Joint Program Office’s proposal to substitute a “continuous capability development and delivery” phase, which is now expected to cost at least $16 billion, needs to be rejected. Instead, the complete testing program agreed to between the Program Office and DOT&E must be carried out before the next stage—IOT&E—is begun.

        Throughout the process, accurate and objective assessments of the tests and their results must be reported honestly to Congress, the president and the secretary of defense, as has been the case this year and at least since 2001.

        The pressure from the Pentagon and Congress, both of which have advocated increased rather than decreased concurrency, to continue protecting “acquisition malpractice” is clearly building. How ironic it is that officials and politicians who sell themselves as advocates of “fly before you buy” are, in fact, approving and funding the exact opposite. When the complete F-35 program history is written, those who favored political expediency over integrity and improving America’s defenses should be forever named and shamed accordingly.

        Despite all of the effort, time, and money—17 years and over $133 billion—spent to date on the F-35 program, it is doubtful it will ever live up to the lavish promises made all those years ago when the Defense Department and Congress committed to the program. Hidden within the pages of the DOT&E report is this litotic summation.

        “Finally and most importantly, the program will likely deliver Block 3F [the untested, allegedly “fully combat-capable” F-35 model now entering production] to the field with shortfalls in capabilities the F-35 needs in combat against current threats.”

        This story originally appeared at the Project on Government Oversight.

        What went wrong with the F-35, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter?

        Michael P. HughesJune 13, 2017 10.22pm EDT
        The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired, serving the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy – and even Britain’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy – all in one aircraft design. It’s supposed to replace and improve upon several current – and aging – aircraft types with widely different missions. It’s marketed as a cost-effective, powerful multi-role fighter airplane significantly better than anything potential adversaries could build in the next two decades. But it’s turned out to be none of those things.

        Officially begun in 2001, with roots extending back to the late 1980s, the F-35 program is nearly a decade behind schedule, and has failed to meet many of its original design requirements. It’s also become the most expensive defense program in world history, at around US$1.5 trillion before the fighter is phased out in 2070.

        The unit cost per airplane, above $100 million, is roughly twice what was promised early on. Even after President Trump lambasted the cost of the program in February, the price per plane dropped just $7 million – less than 7 percent.

        And yet, the U.S. is still throwing huge sums of money at the project. Essentially, the Pentagon has declared the F-35 “too big to fail.” As a retired member of the U.S. Air Force and current university professor of finance who has been involved in and studied military aviation and acquisitions, I find the F-35 to be one of the greatest boondoggles in recent military purchasing history.

        Forget what’s already spent

        The Pentagon is trying to argue that just because taxpayers have flushed more than $100 billion down the proverbial toilet so far, we must continue to throw billions more down that same toilet. That violates the most elementary financial principles of capital budgeting, which is the method companies and governments use to decide on investments. So-called sunk costs, the money already paid on a project, should never be a factor in investment decisions. Rather, spending should be based on how it will add value in the future.

        Keeping the F-35 program alive is not only a gross waste in itself: Its funding could be spent on defense programs that are really useful and needed for national defense, such as anti-drone systems to defend U.S. troops.

        Part of the enormous cost has come as a result of an effort to share aircraft design and replacement parts across different branches of the military. In 2013, a study by the RAND Corporation found that it would have been cheaper if the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy had simply designed and developed separate and more specialized aircraft to meet their specific operational requirements.

        Not living up to top billing

        The company building the F-35 has made grand claims. Lockheed Martin said the plane would be far better than current aircraft – “four times more effective” in air-to-air combat, “eight times more effective” in air-to-ground combat and “three times more effective” in recognizing and suppressing an enemy’s air defenses. It would, in fact, be “second only to the F-22 in air superiority.” In addition, the F-35 was to have better range and require less logistics support than current military aircraft. The Pentagon is still calling the F-35 “the most affordable, lethal, supportable, and survivable aircraft ever to be used.”

        But that’s not how the plane has turned out. In January 2015, mock combat testing pitted the F-35 against an F-16, one of the fighters it is slated to replace. The F-35A was flown “clean” with empty weapon bays and without any drag-inducing and heavy externally mounted weapons or fuel tanks. The F-16D, a heavier and somewhat less capable training version of the mainstay F-16C, was further encumbered with two 370-gallon external wing-mounted fuel tanks.

        In spite of its significant advantages, the F-35A’s test pilot noted that the F-35A was less maneuverable and markedly inferior to the F-16D in a visual-range dogfight.

        Stealth over power

        One key reason the F-35 doesn’t possess the world-beating air-to-air prowess promised, and is likely not even adequate when compared with its current potential adversaries, is that it was designed first and foremost to be a stealthy airplane. This requirement has taken precedence over maneuverability, and likely above its overall air-to-air lethality. The Pentagon and especially the Air Force seem to be relying almost exclusively on the F-35’s stealth capabilities to succeed at its missions.

        Like the F-117 and F-22, the F-35’s stealth capability greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, its radar cross-section, the signal that radar receivers see bouncing back off an airplane. The plane looks smaller on radar – perhaps like a bird rather than a plane – but is not invisible. The F-35 is designed to be stealthy primarily in the X-band, the radar frequency range most commonly used for targeting in air-to-air combat.

        In other radar frequencies, the F-35 is not so stealthy, making it vulnerable to being tracked and shot down using current – and even obsolete – weapons. As far back as 1999 the same type of stealth technology was not able to prevent a U.S. Air Force F-117 flying over Kosovo from being located, tracked and shot down using an out-of-date Soviet radar and surface-to-air missile system. In the nearly two decades since, that incident has been studied in depth not only by the U.S., but also by potential adversaries seeking weaknesses in passive radar stealth aircraft.

        Of course, radar is not the only way to locate and target an aircraft. One can also use an aircraft’s infrared emissions, which are created by friction-generated heat as it flies through the air, along with its hot engines. Several nations, particularly the Russians, have excellent passive infrared search and tracking systems, that can locate and target enemy aircraft with great precision – sometimes using lasers to measure exact distances, but without needing radar.

        It’s also very common in air-to-air battles for opposing planes to come close enough that their pilots can see each other. The F-35 is as visible as any other aircraft its size.

        Analysts weigh in

        Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon say the F-35’s superiority over its rivals lies in its ability to remain undetected, giving it “first look, first shot, first kill.” Hugh Harkins, a highly respected author on military combat aircraft, called that claim “a marketing and publicity gimmick” in his book on Russia’s Sukhoi Su-35S, a potential opponent of the F-35. He also wrote, “In real terms an aircraft in the class of the F-35 cannot compete with the Su-35S for out and out performance such as speed, climb, altitude, and maneuverability.”

        Other critics have been even harsher. Pierre Sprey, a cofounding member of the so-called “fighter mafia” at the Pentagon and a co-designer of the F-16, calls the F-35 an “inherently a terrible airplane” that is the product of “an exceptionally dumb piece of Air Force PR spin.” He has said the F-35 would likely lose a close-in combat encounter to a well-flown MiG-21, a 1950s Soviet fighter design. Robert Dorr, an Air Force veteran, career diplomat and military air combat historian, wrote in his book “Air Power Abandoned,” “The F-35 demonstrates repeatedly that it can’t live up to promises made for it. … It’s that bad.”

        How did we get here?

        How did the F-35 go from its conception as the most technologically advanced, do-it-all military aircraft in the world to a virtual turkey? Over the decades-long effort to meet a real military need for better aircraft, the F-35 program is the result of the merging or combination of several other separate and diverse projects into a set of requirements for an airplane that is trying to be everything to everybody.

        In combat the difference between winning and losing is often not very great. With second place all too often meaning death, the Pentagon seeks to provide warriors with the best possible equipment. The best tools are those that are tailor-made to address specific missions and types of combat. Seeking to accomplish more tasks with less money, defense planners looked for ways to economize.

        For a fighter airplane, funding decisions become a balancing act of procuring not just the best aircraft possible, but enough of them to make an effective force. This has lead to the creation of so-called “multi-role” fighter aircraft, capable both in air-to-air combat and against ground targets. Where trade-offs have to happen, designers of most multi-role fighters emphasize aerial combat strength, reducing air-to-ground capabilities. With the F-35, it appears designers created an airplane that doesn’t do either mission exceptionally well. They have made the plane an inelegant jack-of-all-trades, but master of none – at great expense, both in the past and, apparently, well into the future.

        I believe the F-35 program should be immediately cancelled; the technologies and systems developed for it should be used in more up-to-date and cost-effective aircraft designs. Specifically, the F-35 should be replaced with a series of new designs targeted toward the specific mission requirements of the individual branches of the armed forces, in lieu of a single aircraft design trying to be everything to everyone.

        ΥΓ

        Έλεος πια με τα τρόλλ που άρχισαν να εμφανίζονται πλέον σε πακέτο/ζευγάρι, παριστάνοντας τους ειδικούς.

      • Gunslinger32

        Ορίστε μας, θύμωσε ο αγάς και δάγκασε τ’ @@ του(όπως λένε και στο χωριό μου).
        Πάλι λάθος έκανες, εγώ ήμουν αυτός που έθιξε έναν θέμα που σε στεναχωρεί (και μάλιστα έντονα) όπως φαίνεται ξεκάθαρα, εφόσον δεν άντεξες και πετάχτηκες πάλι σαν την π0ρδή απο τα πλάγια, για να μας πεις άλλη μια ιστοριούλα για το «υπερόπλο» που λατρεύεις.
        Όλα αυτά τα μπλα και κρα σου με αφήνουν όμως αδιάφορο επειδή δεν αλλάζουν κάτι στο όλο θέμα για το αγαπημένο σου παιχνιδάκι που είναι αποτυχία.

        Όσο για την ουσία που ζητάς(η οποία απουσιάζει εντελώς απο όλες τις παρατηρήσεις σου), πάρε αυτά που σου δημιουργούν αϋπνίες, εφόσον εσύ ήσουν αυτός που επέμενε με μανία ότι δεν υπάρχουν διαφορετικές εκδόσεις του συγκεκριμένου αεροσκάφους.Αυτά απο εμένα τα υπόλοιπα μπορείς να τα συζητήσεις με τον κομμωτή σου, ο οποίος πληρώνεται για να ανέχεται τις χαζομάρες που αμολάς.

        Πάρε ουσία, για να μαθαίνεις πως έχουν τα πράγματα στην πραγματικότητα, όχι όπως τα έχεις μπλέξει/μπερδέψει στην φαντασία σου(αφιερωμένο το παρακάτω σεντόνι).

        THE BUZZ
        The F-35 Stealth Fighter’s Dirty Little Secret Is Now Out in the Open
        The U.S. Senate just confirmed what an Air Force general hinted at in February 2016 — and which should have been obvious for years to close observers of U.S. air power.

        The Joint Strike Fighter program is not developing one, common warplane for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and the air arms of America’s closest allies.

        No, the Joint Strike Fighter is actually three different plane designs sharing a basic cockpit, engine and software and a logistical network. The Air Force’s F-35A, the Marines’ F-35B and the Navy’s F-35C should, in all fairness, be the F-35, F-36 and F-37.

        “Despite aspirations for a joint aircraft, the F-35A, F-35B and F-35C are essentially three distinct aircraft, with significantly different missions and capability requirements,” the Senate stated in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017.

        Before the act becomes law, the Senate must reconcile its NDAA with the House of Representative’s own version of the same bill— and Pres. Barack Obama must sign it. The F-35 language could change or disappear in coming months.

        The Senate’s assertion comes just three months after U.S. Air Force lieutenant general Christopher Bogdan, head of the JSF program office, told a seminar audience that the three F-35 models are only 20- to 25-percent common, mainly in their cockpits.

        It’s “almost like three separate production lines,” Bogdan said, according toAir Force magazine. A real joint fighter, the program boss said, is “hard” because each branch is adamant about its requirements. “You want what you want,” Bogdan said.

        The Senate backs up its NDAA language by requiring Bogdan’s office to shut down in 2019, by which time the F-35 should be in full-rate production. The singular Joint Strike Fighter would break up into three separate programs — one each for the Air Force, Marines and Navy. “Devolving this program to the services will help ensure the proper alignment of responsibility and accountability the F-35 program needs and has too often lacked,” the Senate explained.

        To be fair, the Navy tends to oversee most of the Marine Corps’ major weapons-acquisitions efforts. If the Senate’s proposal becomes law, the Navy could open up two new offices to manage the F-35B and F-35C. It’s unlikely the military will redesignate those JSF models as the F-36 and F-37, despite our humble recommendation that it do so.

        The Senate’s push to break up the monolithic JSF organization reflects poorly on Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the $400-billion program. Lockheed sold the F-35 as a “universal” stealth warplane whose different models would be highly compatible in order to simplify production, maintenance and training — and to drive down cost.

        Of course, as the F-35A, F-35B and F-35C have evolved and Lockheed and the government have struggled to solve deeply-ingrained conceptual and design flaws within the program, the three models have grown in separate directions.

        The multi-role F-35A is the lightest and most maneuverable of the three versions — and, at around $150 million per copy as of 2014, the — ahem — “cheapest.” Granted, that price tag is trending downward as order volume increases and Lockheed’s workers gain experience.

        The $250-million, attack-optimized F-35B includes a secondary, downward-blasting engine for short and vertical takeoffs and landings — a feature that the Marines demanded and which has added significantly to the plane’s weight, complexity and cost.

        The Navy’s F-35C — which the sailing branch primarily touts as a stealthy sensor-platform — possesses a bigger wing to allow for low-speed carrier landings and suffers from greater drag than the F-35A does. It cost a staggering $330 million per jet in 2014.

        When the government awarded Lockheed the JSF contract back in 2001, it handed the Maryland-based plane-maker the keys to the main fighter recapitalization efforts for all three U.S. military branches that operate fast jets.

        If the military and lawmakers had recognized then what they admit now — that the JSF is three different planes — the government could have awarded three separate contracts to potentially three different contractors, thus preventing the current fighter monopoly and encouraging diversity and competition within the U.S. aerospace industry.

        The Pentagon alone plans to buy around 2,300 F-35s through at least the 2030s, replacing a wide range of existing planes including F-16s, F/A-18s, AV-8s and A-10s.

        There’s Still No Finish Line in Sight for the F-35 Program

        The stealth jets continue to underperform

        March 26, 2018 Dan Grazier
        Jim Roche, then-secretary of the U.S. Air Force, made an announcement on Oct. 26, 2001, that all aviation enthusiasts had been waiting for. A winner had been picked to design and build the Joint Strike Fighter.

        The American people were assured the new jet would enter service in 2008 and be a high-performance replacement for the military’s aging airframes while only costing between $40 million and $50 million.

        The F-35 has now entered an unprecedented seventeenth year of continuing redesign, test deficiencies, fixes, schedule slippages and cost overruns. And it’s still not at the finish line. Numerous missteps along the way—from the fact that the two competing contractors, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, submitted “flyoff” planes that were crude and undeveloped “technology demonstrators” rather than following the better practice of submitting fully functional prototypes, to concurrent acquisition malpractice that has prevented design flaws from being discovered until after production models were built—have led to where we are now.

        According to the latest annual report from the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation, 263 “high priority” performance and safety deficiencies remain unresolved and unaddressed, and the developmental tests—essentially, the laboratory tests—are far from complete. If they complete the tests, more deficiencies will surely be found that must be addressed before the plane can safely carry our airmen and women into combat.

        Despite this, the F-35 Joint Program Office now intends to call—quite arbitrarily—an end to the plane’s development phase and developmental testing. Instead of completing the presently planned development work, the Program Office is now proposing to substitute a vaguely defined F-35 upgrade program called “continuous capability development and delivery.” The DOT&E report states flatly that this plan, as proposed, is “not executable due to inadequate test resources” in the rapid timelines proposed.

        It doesn’t require inside information to understand that the proposed plan is just a way to hide major development delays and cost overruns while facilitating increased annual production buys of incompletely developed F-35s. Twenty-three fully designed, fully combat-capable F-35s are supposed to begin the all-important—and more rigorous—operational testing before the end of 2018, yet it is impossible to fix the 263 known Priority 1 and 2 deficiencies in time to meet that schedule.

        This clearly doesn’t bother the senior Pentagon officials who are pushing to move forward with production despite the unresolved deficiencies. Already, 235 of the deficiency-ridden aircraft have been nominally designated “combat ready” and delivered to active Air Force and Marine Corps squadrons. The consequences of this plan for safety and effective tactics in operational unit training, let alone combat, are unknown. Defense Department officials who approved cutting short the F-35’s development phase should, and hopefully will, be held accountable when the inevitable consequences in safety, combat effectiveness, and cost overruns emerge.

        As initially advertised, and throughout the program’s development, taxpayers have been told this exorbitantly costly system is necessary to combat advanced future threats. However, testing results show that the planes already delivered cannot even effectively address the currentthreats. That’s a problem.

        Combat capabilities

        In September 2016 then-Air Force secretary Deborah Lee James certified to Congress that the F-35As to be delivered in fiscal year 2018 would have full combat capabilities. James was referring to the Block 3F aircraft to be produced this year. But according to the DOT&E report, the current much-delayed testing schedule means that won’t be possible—they’re not even close to combat-ready. Left unsaid in the report is the uncomfortable fact that the 359 F-35s funded before 2018 are also lacking combat capability.

        The F-35 contract mandates that it must match or exceed the combat capabilities of legacy aircraft, especially in the air-to-air, deep strike, and close air support missions. In the crucial close support mission, the venerable and battle-proven A-10 is one of the aircraft the F-35 was designed to replace. As of now, testing shows the F-35 is incapable of performing most of the functions required for an acceptable close support aircraft, functions the A-10 is performing daily in current combat.

        One of the many deficiencies reported is the F-35’s inability to reliably hit targets with its cannon. The problem is most pronounced with the Air Force’s F-35A, the version of the aircraft that would replace the A-10. This variant has an internally mounted cannon. The F-35B and F-35C both use an externally mounted cannon pod.

        “Flight testing of the different gun systems on the F-35 (internal gun for F-35A and external gun pods for the F-35B and F-35C) revealed problems with effectiveness, accuracy, pilot controls and gunsights displayed in the Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS),” a footnote in the report states. “The synopsis and assessment of specific HMDS problems are classified.”

        For example, the testing teams at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California began conducting air-to-ground tests of the cannon in February 2017, but had to take an extended break when they noticed the sights in the pilot’s Helmet Mounted Display System—the infamous $600,000 helmet—did not line up properly with the cannon. The paused tests were completed more than six months later in September 2017 after a tentative fix had been installed. But the F-35’s cannon still had an “uncharacterized bias toward long and right of the target,” resulting in pilots “consistently missing ground targets during strafe testing.”

        Even if the designers are eventually able to fix the sighting problems, the design of the plane itself hinders using the cannon for the close support mission. Effectively employing the cannon requires the aircraft to fly low and close to the target and to survive ground fire, an impossibility for an aircraft as thin-skinned and highly flammable as the F-35.

        The Joint Program Office and Air Force leaders would have you believe that such deficiencies are minor because shooting targets with a cannon is old-fashioned. They prefer to strike targets from long distances with precision munitions, like the current guided bombs or the yet-to-be-fielded Small Diameter Bomb II. But troops and ground controllers in daily combat in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria know differently and understand just how critical to their survival it is to have an aircraft that can place accurate fire on enemy troops close to their positions.

        In the air-to-air mission, the current F-35 is similarly incapable of matching legacy aircraft like the F-15, F-16 and F-22. For long-range aerial engagements using the existing beyond visual range missile, the AIM-120 medium-range air-to-air missile, the report notes problems integrating the missile with the aircraft, as well as deficiencies with the control and display system. These problems are severe enough that F-35s armed with AMRAAMs cannot “support” the “kill chain,” or the entire process of destroying a target from detection to evaluating the results of a strike.

        Even that is not the end of the combat-related deficiencies. All of the combat capabilities in the F-35 depend on the software running the aircraft’s systems. The program has already gone through multiple major software revisions. The Marine Corps declared its first F-35s operational—that is, combat-ready—with version Block 2B software while the Air Force did the same with Block 3i.

        Both had such limited capabilities that they could not fire guns, short-range air-to-air missiles, or small, close-support-capable guided bombs. Both are to be superseded by the allegedly “fully combat capable” Block 3F software. This latter version is just now entering the fleet, yet its design and testing are still far from complete; it has already received myriad patches, and problems are still being discovered. In October 2017, the program released version 3FR6.32, the 31st version of Block 3F software.

        Important deficiencies remain. The aircraft’s earlier block 2B software version did not allow the pilot to confirm target coordinates sent to the plane’s guided bombs. The new Block 3F “fully combat capable” software allows the pilot to see what coordinates he sent to the weapons, but not the coordinates that are actually loaded into the bomb.

        Without being able to confirm that the coordinates are properly entered into the weapon, it is impossible to be sure it will guide to the intended target. The rules of engagement in combat zones often require pilots to fully confirm to the ground controller that the guided weapon is loaded with the correct target coordinates before firing—an essential precaution to prevent friendly-fire casualties.

        Another problem the F-35 has in a ground attack role is that its systems in many ways hurt rather than help the pilot gain an accurate picture of the battle scene he is supporting. For an A-10 pilot flying low and slow over the battlefield, this process could be as simple as seeing the friendly troops shooting at a target as the ground controller says, “follow my tracers.”

        For an aircraft like the F-35, which needs to fly at altitudes generally over 15,000 feet to remain safe from ground fire, this process has to be done through a video downlink where the ground controller establishes a connection with the F-35 and can see the same screen images as the pilot. In situations where A-10 and F-16 pilots need to do the same, they can get an excellent view of the battlefield through the Sniper and LITENING Advanced Targeting Pods mounted to their aircraft, which are currently flying in combat on a daily basis.

        Pilots flying the F-35 aren’t so fortunate because engineers have not been able to get its video downlink system to work. Instead ground controllers and F-35 pilots at 15,000 feet are forced to try confirming targets by voice radio, a process much hindered by the “poor fidelity” of the images seen through the F-35’s Electro-Optical Targeting System, as reported by DOT&E.

        The F-35 software also lacks the ability to automatically calculate the time at which a weapon launched from the F-35 will impact the target, something the legacy systems are able to do. Ground forces need to know the “time on target” to properly plan a combined arms artillery-air attack or to take cover when calling for “danger close” support strikes. Artillery, mortars and aircraft have to be deconflicted in both time and space so that artillery rounds do not strike the aircraft as they fly over the battlefield.

        Artillery fire suppression missions have to be timed to prevent enemy anti-aircraft fire against the attacking close support planes. Without an accurate TOT calculation, the essential precise timetables can’t be established. “The inability to calculate a TOT limits the ability of the F-35 to participate in [a] complex combined arms environment,” according to the DOT&E.

        F-35 pilots must instead manually calculate the weapon’s time of flight. This not only increases the pilot’s workload, but also adds to the time it takes to complete an already complicated process. For embattled troops on the ground where every second counts, getting a TOT even a few seconds faster can mean the difference between life and death.

        The new DOT&E report provided scant information about the F-35’s air-to-air capabilities. The report did note that tests were conducted by firing six AIM-120 missiles, but few details of the results beyond those discussed above were provided because the information is classified. DOT&E reported in 2016 that the Program Office conducted several successful shots with the missile but there were guidance failures on a few tests resulting in failed shots. The 2017 report does state that the tests revealed “key technical deficiencies in the ability of the F-35 to employ the AIM-120 weapons,” and “[t]he test team discovered several classified missile integration problems as well as pilot‑identified with the controls and displays that affected the combat capability of the F-35 to support the kill chain.”

        The report also says most of the air-to-air testing had to be performed using workarounds to “mitigate limitations induced by outstanding deficiencies that compromised the combat capability of the weapons employment.” As reported in the 2016 report, such workarounds included test controllers having to identify or locate air-to-air targets for the attacking F-35, or having to correct F-35 targeting mistakes. Clearly, the AIM-120 AMRAAM is not working in the F-35, but the exact nature and depth of the multiple problems, as well as the cost and time necessary to fix them, remain unknown.

        Assessing the F-35’s field performance

        While there have been numerous problems uncovered during the laboratory-based developmental testing, more than 200 of which remain unresolved, myriad more are sure to be found during operational testing. Operational tests go way beyond determining in a laboratory setting whether a weapon system can meet its design and contract specifications. They assess how well the weapon actually functions in the hands of the typical combat user and under the most realistic field combat conditions possible.

        In other words, it assesses operational combat suitability. The Department of Defense defines a suitable weapon system as one that “can be placed and sustained satisfactorily in field use with consideration being given to availability, compatibility, transportability, interoperability, reliability, wartime usage rates, maintainability, safety, human factors, habitability, manpower, logistics supportability, natural environmental effects and impacts, documentation and training requirements.”

        During developmental tests in 2017, the F-35 program continued to perform below expectations, which does not bode well for the coming operational test process. “Over the previous year, most suitability metrics have remained nearly the same or moved only within narrow bands, which are insufficient to characterize a trend of performance,” the DOT&E report stated. The entire fleet of 235 operationally deployed aircraft was only available and ready to perform all of the F-35’s intended multiple missions 26 percent of the time—that is, 26 percent was the “fully mission capable” rate.

        Under the much less stringent criterion of being ready to fly just one of its missions, the F-35 fleet showed only 50 percent mission capable rate—a poor result that, disappointingly, hasn’t changed for more than three years and remains below the modest 60 percent single-mission availability-rate goal set by program officials. The bottom line is that even if the F-35 were combat-effective in all of its multiple missions, it would be unavailable to deliver that effectiveness when needed in battle three-quarters of the time.

        The F-35 reliability and maintainability data generated through developmental testing are as bleak as the availability trends. The average flight time between unscheduled maintenance events is 44 to 82 minutes across the three F-35 variants. Time to repair each of these failures is 4.9 to 7.3 average hours. Like availability, the reliability trends show little or no improvement.

        These disappointing repair times are roughly two to three times worse than the current approved and contractually required operational requirement thresholds. The Joint Program Office proposes to solve this major deficiency simply by doubling the allowable repair time threshold for the F-35A and F-35C and increasing it by nearly two and a half times for the F-35B.

        It is significant that the F-35 program has demonstrated little progress in improving these availability, reliability, and maintainability problems. The 50 percent one-mission availability rate has held steady since October 2014, “despite the increasing number of new aircraft.”

        Aircraft fresh from the factory with the latest upgrades should not require as much maintenance as early developmental aircraft with untested components. That they do suggests that the maintenance problems with the F-35 are deeply buried in the design, that the manufacturer is incapable of delivering an effective aircraft, or that the program, even at great expense, is not being adequately managed.

        Evidence of this last point can be seen with the program’s inability to provide necessary spare parts. Indeed, the lack of replacement parts for the F-35 is one of the major factors affecting the low availability rates. This problem is aggravated by mismanagement. According to DOT&E, the “program has been late to stand up organic depot capabilities to repair existing parts that have failed but can be refurbished instead of being replaced with new parts.”

        This is all part of the much larger problem of the defense contractors building themselves permanently into their programs’ operations and maintenance budgets by creating a logistics system that only they can support. The Government Accountability Office highlighted the same problem in an October 2017 report that found the services had to wait an average of 172 days for F-35 spare parts through the Lockheed Martin supply chain.

        However, like the B-2 and F-22 before it, the inherent and excessive complexity of the F-35 design and its long record of fabrication problems—such as inappropriate insulation in fuel tanks—suggest that the F-35’s availability problems are not limited to just parts availability.

        The F-35 has often been described as a “flying computer,” and it was intended to operate as part of an extensive network of other aircraft and ground-based systems. Much of its claimed functionality depends on the complex array of sensors that are supposed to gather information from all of the planes in the same flight group to be processed by the computer — called the fusion engine — in each of the planes into a clear picture of the combat situation for all the pilots in that flight.

        All of this was supposed to reduce the pilot’s workload. The test results show that in multiple cases the opposite is occurring. For example, pilots are supposed to be able to program mission-specific planning data into an Offboard Mission Support workstation. These data files are then carried out to the flight line to be loaded onto the F-35 with a Portable Memory Device.

        Pilots have found that it is taking too long to input and transfer mission plans this way, so instead they are choosing to manually enter their plans while sitting in the cockpit. Equally or more burdensome for the pilot are the multiple false targets or false threats being created by the apparently inherent inability of the F-35’s software to merge into one all of the network’s multiple, somewhat inaccurate position reports for any single target or threat. This also creates more work for the pilots as they have to figure out which targets are real and which aren’t, usually by verbally confirming them with other pilots, the very action the sensor fusion system is intended to replace.

        This increase in workload extends even more seriously to the troubled Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS. This is the massive and complex computer system, owned and operated by Lockheed Martin, that is used for combat mission planning, threat analysis, maintenance diagnosis, parts ordering, maintenance scheduling, and more. DOT&E reports that most of the functions work only with “a high level of manual effort by ALIS administrators and maintenance personnel.”

        For instance, the automatic diagnostics in the program continue to falsely report breakdowns on the aircraft, ordering parts that are not needed and forcing maintenance personnel to waste time trying to fix something they believed was broken only to find out that it wasn’t.

        In addition, the F-35 program, including ALIS, remains critically vulnerable to cyber threats. The new Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, Robert Behler, a retired Air Force major general who most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, has made it a priority to fully test the intricately networked system.

        This will be easier said than done as several testing activities were disrupted in 2017 for reasons like sudden Defense Department policy changes regarding classified equipment security requirements, delayed software deliveries, and “pre-coordination problems” with the contractors administering the ALIS Standard Operating Unit at Edwards Air Force Base.

        The testing that did occur revealed that several of the severe cyber vulnerabilities identified in previous years still have not been fixed. The report did not detail these vulnerabilities, but DOT&E did provide this pessimistic warning and recommendation.

        “According to the [Joint Program Office], the air vehicle is capable of operating for up to 30 days without connectivity to ALIS. In light of current cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities, along with peer and near-peer threats to bases and communications, the F-35 program and Services should conduct testing of aircraft operations without access to ALIS for extended periods of time.”

        DOT&E is signaling their pessimism that ALIS will actually be able to effectively support F-35 combat operations long-term either because it is hacked, or because it simply will not work as intended. This statement says the program office should find a way to fly the F-35 without using ALIS at all.

        The F-35 program is also having difficulties with the seemingly mundane. For example, engineers have struggled to build a proper tire for the Marine Corps’ F-35B. The short-takeoff, vertical landing variant does present unique challenges for the program: the tires on the F-35B need to be soft enough to provide cushioning during vertical landings, strong enough for high-speed landings on a conventional runway, and light enough to fit the aircraft’s tight weight limits.

        The tires are also required to be good for at least 25 conventional landings. So far, the average F-35B tire has only lasted 10 landings before it must be replaced. Each tire costs around $1,500. Unless a better tire can be developed, the Marine Corps will spend approximately $300 per flight hour just for replacements. With an expected lifetime of 8,000 flight hours, taxpayers will spend approximately $2.4 million on tires for each and every F-35B.

        There are numerous other problems that need to be resolved, such as ejection seats that aren’t safe for pilots of all sizes, identifying the cause of hypoxia physiological incidents that a growing number of pilots are experiencing, production line quality lapses, speed and maneuvering restrictions, deficiencies in the helmet display and night vision camera and restrictions in air refueling for the F-35B and F-35C.

        It is for these and several hundred other reasons like them that Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, said we can’t afford to sustain the F-35. DOT&E recommends that the Program Office review the available reliability and maintenance data from the testing process and field operations to obtain a realistic sustainment cost estimate that is based on actual operating data instead of relying on the current optimistic and unsupported estimates of the F-35’s operating costs.

        Congress should get involved and mandate just such a review. Indeed, an inherently complex system like the F-35 may require a higher cost to sustain in the future—well beyond current estimates.

        It’s easy to see why the military reform movement advocates so strongly against overly complex weapon systems. In addition to making weapons unaffordable and decades late in meeting threats, excessive complexity adds extra friction to the inherent chaos of the battlefield. Facing such overwhelming combat pressures, the last things our troops need are additional workloads, uncertainties, delays and maintenance burdens that should have been tested and engineered out of their weapon systems long before being sent to combat. Even worse is to undermine long-term combat effectiveness, training, and readiness by issuing conveniently optimistic cost and suitability guesstimates to serve short term political goals.

        Concurrency issues

        The new annual DOT&E report reveals details about a dominant component of the F-35’s 17 years of acquisition malpractice: its high level of concurrency. Concurrency is a term for the deliberate overlap of development, testing, and production in an acquisition program. The Government Accountability Office has identified this as one of the single biggest drivers of cost and schedule growth in the F-35 program. The GAO also identifies concurrency as a root cause of many of the F-35’s performance shortfalls.

        While the problems with concurrency have been well understood in broad terms, we are now beginning to see the details of how the rush to buy F-35s impacts the development and testing process.

        One of the biggest dangers of rushing hundreds of aircraft into production with an immature design is that they will later have to be retrofitted and retested with the revised design fixes that overcome discovered problems. This is an expensive and time-consuming process, especially considering that the aircraft being fixed were already purchased at full price and that reworking them will result in additional costs that would otherwise not have been incurred.

        Concerns over these very large concurrency costs prompted Air Force leaders to float the idea of leaving 108 F-35s purchased early in the program in their immature state, which could have left taxpayers with $21 billion to $40 billion worth of “concurrency orphans”—aircraft that were paid for but are unsuitable for combat. The Air Force has since backed off from this embarrassing stance.

        As mentioned earlier, the operational testing process requires 23 aircraft. Modifications to bring the test fleet up to date have dragged on for years and will not be complete before the IOT&E process is scheduled to begin. One of the reasons for this delay is that a few of the operational test aircraft have been pulled to supplement the developmental test fleet to help test the fixes for the ever-growing number of test-discovered design deficiencies.

        Yet during this time, the program produced 235 new aircraft to send to squadrons in the operational force. At the very least, this gives the impression that officials are prioritizing buying underdeveloped aircraft needing fixes to send to the fleet. The priority should be completing the design and the developmental tests.

        Despite the public relations pronouncements that the F-35 has achieved “Initial Operational Capability,” the program is actually still in the Low Rate Initial Production phase. The three main purposes of LRIP is to complete manufacturing development, build an adequate number of vehicles for testing purposes, and demonstrate their producibility.

        Per the Defense Department’s acquisition instructions, “LRIP quantities will be the minimum needed to provide production representative test articles for operational test and evaluation (OT&E) (as determined by DOT&E for MDAPS or special interest programs), to establish an initial production base for the system and provide efficient ramp up to full-rate production, and to maintain continuity in production pending completion of operational testing.”

        In at least one respect, the program appears to be failing to meet the LRIP criteria, in that the production base has so far fallen short. The program’s current low availability rates are a direct result of the rush to get the aircraft out to the fleet. In that rush, the fact that the design was still immature and deficiency-ridden was ignored. Many factors impact the availability rate of an aircraft fleet, including maintenance downtime and aircraft-in-depot status for modifications or major repairs.

        The DOT&E reports that the single biggest reason behind the F-35’s poor availability rate is a lack of spare parts, and that program officials made overly optimistic forecasts about the kinds and numbers of replacement parts. The program had designed a stock of spare parts based on how reliable it hoped the F-35 would be rather than on actual flight data and experience.

        Had the program completed the design and testing process before moving into large-scale production, leaders would have gathered the necessary maintenance data to order adequate parts for the fleet. On average in 2017, 21 percent of F-35s were non-mission-capable because they were waiting for replacement parts that had not been bought and stocked.

        The concurrency problem will only be compounded as more and more aircraft are produced. The services will receive 90 new F-35s in 2018. The testing office warns of the folly of a concurrent procurement strategy in these terms.

        “IOT&E, which provides the most credible means to predict combat performance, likely will not be completed until the end of 2019, at which point over 600 aircraft will already have been built.”

        The GAO has reported that the known costs to retrofit all the F-35s that had then been purchased up to 2017 would total nearly $1.77 billion, almost certainly a large underestimate. As more and more aircraft are purchased and the testing process reveals more and more design flaws that need fixing, these costs will only rise.

        The 2017 DOT&E report shows that after 17 years the Joint Strike Fighter Program is still falling far short of combat effectiveness expectations while it continues to experience painful schedule slippages and major cost increases. Congress needs to reconsider its plans to accelerate the funneling of money into increased production of still more untested and incompletely developed F-35s—at least until the approved developmental testing phase has been funded and completed.

        The Joint Program Office’s proposal to substitute a “continuous capability development and delivery” phase, which is now expected to cost at least $16 billion, needs to be rejected. Instead, the complete testing program agreed to between the Program Office and DOT&E must be carried out before the next stage—IOT&E—is begun.

        Throughout the process, accurate and objective assessments of the tests and their results must be reported honestly to Congress, the president and the secretary of defense, as has been the case this year and at least since 2001.

        The pressure from the Pentagon and Congress, both of which have advocated increased rather than decreased concurrency, to continue protecting “acquisition malpractice” is clearly building. How ironic it is that officials and politicians who sell themselves as advocates of “fly before you buy” are, in fact, approving and funding the exact opposite. When the complete F-35 program history is written, those who favored political expediency over integrity and improving America’s defenses should be forever named and shamed accordingly.

        Despite all of the effort, time, and money—17 years and over $133 billion—spent to date on the F-35 program, it is doubtful it will ever live up to the lavish promises made all those years ago when the Defense Department and Congress committed to the program. Hidden within the pages of the DOT&E report is this litotic summation.

        “Finally and most importantly, the program will likely deliver Block 3F [the untested, allegedly “fully combat-capable” F-35 model now entering production] to the field with shortfalls in capabilities the F-35 needs in combat against current threats.”

        This story originally appeared at the Project on Government Oversight.

        What went wrong with the F-35, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter?

        Michael P. HughesJune 13, 2017 10.22pm EDT
        The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired, serving the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy – and even Britain’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy – all in one aircraft design. It’s supposed to replace and improve upon several current – and aging – aircraft types with widely different missions. It’s marketed as a cost-effective, powerful multi-role fighter airplane significantly better than anything potential adversaries could build in the next two decades. But it’s turned out to be none of those things.

        Officially begun in 2001, with roots extending back to the late 1980s, the F-35 program is nearly a decade behind schedule, and has failed to meet many of its original design requirements. It’s also become the most expensive defense program in world history, at around US$1.5 trillion before the fighter is phased out in 2070.

        The unit cost per airplane, above $100 million, is roughly twice what was promised early on. Even after President Trump lambasted the cost of the program in February, the price per plane dropped just $7 million – less than 7 percent.

        And yet, the U.S. is still throwing huge sums of money at the project. Essentially, the Pentagon has declared the F-35 “too big to fail.” As a retired member of the U.S. Air Force and current university professor of finance who has been involved in and studied military aviation and acquisitions, I find the F-35 to be one of the greatest boondoggles in recent military purchasing history.

        Forget what’s already spent

        The Pentagon is trying to argue that just because taxpayers have flushed more than $100 billion down the proverbial toilet so far, we must continue to throw billions more down that same toilet. That violates the most elementary financial principles of capital budgeting, which is the method companies and governments use to decide on investments. So-called sunk costs, the money already paid on a project, should never be a factor in investment decisions. Rather, spending should be based on how it will add value in the future.

        Keeping the F-35 program alive is not only a gross waste in itself: Its funding could be spent on defense programs that are really useful and needed for national defense, such as anti-drone systems to defend U.S. troops.

        Part of the enormous cost has come as a result of an effort to share aircraft design and replacement parts across different branches of the military. In 2013, a study by the RAND Corporation found that it would have been cheaper if the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy had simply designed and developed separate and more specialized aircraft to meet their specific operational requirements.

        Not living up to top billing

        The company building the F-35 has made grand claims. Lockheed Martin said the plane would be far better than current aircraft – “four times more effective” in air-to-air combat, “eight times more effective” in air-to-ground combat and “three times more effective” in recognizing and suppressing an enemy’s air defenses. It would, in fact, be “second only to the F-22 in air superiority.” In addition, the F-35 was to have better range and require less logistics support than current military aircraft. The Pentagon is still calling the F-35 “the most affordable, lethal, supportable, and survivable aircraft ever to be used.”

        But that’s not how the plane has turned out. In January 2015, mock combat testing pitted the F-35 against an F-16, one of the fighters it is slated to replace. The F-35A was flown “clean” with empty weapon bays and without any drag-inducing and heavy externally mounted weapons or fuel tanks. The F-16D, a heavier and somewhat less capable training version of the mainstay F-16C, was further encumbered with two 370-gallon external wing-mounted fuel tanks.

        In spite of its significant advantages, the F-35A’s test pilot noted that the F-35A was less maneuverable and markedly inferior to the F-16D in a visual-range dogfight.

        Stealth over power

        One key reason the F-35 doesn’t possess the world-beating air-to-air prowess promised, and is likely not even adequate when compared with its current potential adversaries, is that it was designed first and foremost to be a stealthy airplane. This requirement has taken precedence over maneuverability, and likely above its overall air-to-air lethality. The Pentagon and especially the Air Force seem to be relying almost exclusively on the F-35’s stealth capabilities to succeed at its missions.

        Like the F-117 and F-22, the F-35’s stealth capability greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, its radar cross-section, the signal that radar receivers see bouncing back off an airplane. The plane looks smaller on radar – perhaps like a bird rather than a plane – but is not invisible. The F-35 is designed to be stealthy primarily in the X-band, the radar frequency range most commonly used for targeting in air-to-air combat.

        In other radar frequencies, the F-35 is not so stealthy, making it vulnerable to being tracked and shot down using current – and even obsolete – weapons. As far back as 1999 the same type of stealth technology was not able to prevent a U.S. Air Force F-117 flying over Kosovo from being located, tracked and shot down using an out-of-date Soviet radar and surface-to-air missile system. In the nearly two decades since, that incident has been studied in depth not only by the U.S., but also by potential adversaries seeking weaknesses in passive radar stealth aircraft.

        Of course, radar is not the only way to locate and target an aircraft. One can also use an aircraft’s infrared emissions, which are created by friction-generated heat as it flies through the air, along with its hot engines. Several nations, particularly the Russians, have excellent passive infrared search and tracking systems, that can locate and target enemy aircraft with great precision – sometimes using lasers to measure exact distances, but without needing radar.

        It’s also very common in air-to-air battles for opposing planes to come close enough that their pilots can see each other. The F-35 is as visible as any other aircraft its size.

        Analysts weigh in

        Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon say the F-35’s superiority over its rivals lies in its ability to remain undetected, giving it “first look, first shot, first kill.” Hugh Harkins, a highly respected author on military combat aircraft, called that claim “a marketing and publicity gimmick” in his book on Russia’s Sukhoi Su-35S, a potential opponent of the F-35. He also wrote, “In real terms an aircraft in the class of the F-35 cannot compete with the Su-35S for out and out performance such as speed, climb, altitude, and maneuverability.”

        Other critics have been even harsher. Pierre Sprey, a cofounding member of the so-called “fighter mafia” at the Pentagon and a co-designer of the F-16, calls the F-35 an “inherently a terrible airplane” that is the product of “an exceptionally dumb piece of Air Force PR spin.” He has said the F-35 would likely lose a close-in combat encounter to a well-flown MiG-21, a 1950s Soviet fighter design. Robert Dorr, an Air Force veteran, career diplomat and military air combat historian, wrote in his book “Air Power Abandoned,” “The F-35 demonstrates repeatedly that it can’t live up to promises made for it. … It’s that bad.”

        How did we get here?

        How did the F-35 go from its conception as the most technologically advanced, do-it-all military aircraft in the world to a virtual turkey? Over the decades-long effort to meet a real military need for better aircraft, the F-35 program is the result of the merging or combination of several other separate and diverse projects into a set of requirements for an airplane that is trying to be everything to everybody.

        In combat the difference between winning and losing is often not very great. With second place all too often meaning death, the Pentagon seeks to provide warriors with the best possible equipment. The best tools are those that are tailor-made to address specific missions and types of combat. Seeking to accomplish more tasks with less money, defense planners looked for ways to economize.

        For a fighter airplane, funding decisions become a balancing act of procuring not just the best aircraft possible, but enough of them to make an effective force. This has lead to the creation of so-called “multi-role” fighter aircraft, capable both in air-to-air combat and against ground targets. Where trade-offs have to happen, designers of most multi-role fighters emphasize aerial combat strength, reducing air-to-ground capabilities. With the F-35, it appears designers created an airplane that doesn’t do either mission exceptionally well. They have made the plane an inelegant jack-of-all-trades, but master of none – at great expense, both in the past and, apparently, well into the future.

        I believe the F-35 program should be immediately cancelled; the technologies and systems developed for it should be used in more up-to-date and cost-effective aircraft designs. Specifically, the F-35 should be replaced with a series of new designs targeted toward the specific mission requirements of the individual branches of the armed forces, in lieu of a single aircraft design trying to be everything to everyone.

        ΥΓ

        Έλεος πια με τα τρόλλ που άρχισαν να εμφανίζονται πλέον σε πακέτο/ζευγάρι, παριστάνοντας τους ειδικούς.

      • PROMAXOS

        Gunslinger32, θέλω οπωσδήποτε το λινκ του άρθρου που παρέθεσες!!!

        Κερασάκι στην τούρτα: Μέχρι πέρσι ο kostas κατηγορούσε τον τότε DOT & E ως εμμονικό και μονόπλευρο, που είχε την δική του ατζέντα και αντιλήψεις και υπερέβαλε, έβγαινε εκτός των αρμοδιοτήτων του και συκοφαντούσε το μαχητικό λέγοντας ανακρίβειες! Μας έλεγε επίσης ότι δουλειά του είναι να κάνει υπολογισμούς/εκτιμήσεις κινδύνων (αναφορικά με την πορεία του προγράμματος), risk managment, και να συντάσσει σχετικές εκθέσεις!!!

        Ο καινούριος DOT & E είναι σαφώς πιο λάβρος, πιο επιθετικός, πιο αρνητικός και πιο λεπτομερής στις αναλύσεις/εκθέσεις του από τον προηγούμενο!!!
        Και κλάαααμα…

      • Gunslinger32

        @PROMAXOS

        Πολύ ευχαρίστως σου παραθέτω τους συνδέσμους αγαπητέ ΠΡΟΜΑΧΟΣ, επειδή υπάρχει η περίπτωση να κατηγορηθώ απο τους θερμούς υποστηρικτές (και τον ανεπίσημο συνήγορο) του συγκεκριμένου αεροσκάφους, μέχρι και για παραπληροφόρηση μέσω «πλαστογραφίας» και άλλες ωραίες ιδέες που κατεβάζουν επάνω στον υπερβολικό τους ζήλο να υπερασπιστούν αυτή την φαρσοκωμωδία της ΛΜ στο συγκεκριμένο πρόγραμμα(αν και δεν είναι το πρώτομ/μοναδικό).

        Ιδιαίτερα αξιοσημείωτη είναι η παρακάτω αναφορά του απόστρατου στελέχους της USAF, η οποία είναι ένα ξεκάθαρο Statement σχετικά με την όλη εξέλιξη σε αυτή την υπόθεση.

        «And yet, the U.S. is still throwing huge sums of money at the project. Essentially, the Pentagon has declared the F-35 “too big to fail.” As a retired member of the U.S. Air Force and current university professor of finance who has been involved in and studied military aviation and acquisitions, I find the F-35 to be one of the greatest boondoggles in recent military purchasing history.»

        What went wrong with the F-35, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter?
        https://theconversation.com/what-went-wrong-with-the-f-35-lockheed-martins-joint-strike-fighter-60905

        https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-went-wrong-with-the-f-35-lockheed-martins-joint-strike-fighter/

        The F-35 Stealth Fighter’s Dirty Little Secret Is Now Out in the Open
        http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-f-35-stealth-fighters-dirty-little-secret-now-out-the-16211

  2. Theognostos

    @Gunslinger32

    Ναι το ειχα είδει απο τότε που εκδόθηκε. Η τεχνολογία προχωράει στο 6ης γενιάς μαχητικό.

    Ομως άς κοιτάξουμε πρώτα ποιό το όφελος ενός αεροσκάφους οπως του F35 εστω και σε όλες τις εκδόσεις του. Υπάρχουν οφέλη; Απι την αποψη των ΗΠΑ ναι.

    Πρώτα βεβαια εστιαζομαι στην πεποίθηση οτι μέχρι το 2030 θα έχει ξεκινήσει άρδην ο 3ΠΠ. Με αυτό το γνωμικό εγινε και η πάση προσπάθεια να υπάρχουν ηδη εκατοντάδες F35 και να επιχειρούν ουτως ώστε τα προβλήματα να εμφανιστούν γρηγορα και στους τρείς κλάδους και να λυθούν ‘επι τόπου’ και στις επομενες παρτίδες παραγωγής. Δηλαδή τα F35 του 2020 σαφώς είναι καλύτερα από τα του ετους 2014 2015 κ.ο.κ

    Το εάν τρεις διαφορετικοί τύποι αεροσκαφών στοιχιζαν το ίδιον η λιγοτερον η και παραπάνω είναι ενδιαφέρουσα συζητηση ομως σίγουρα εστω οταν και ενα μεγάλο κομμάτι παραμενει το ίδιο και στις τρείς εκδόσεις τοτε ναι απο την άποψη αυτή συμφέρει ‘ένα’ αεροσκάφος…Σκεψου αντί φεριπην ενα τόνο υλικό χ εκατό τόνους υλικού και μετα με την ιδια επεξεργασία αρα η οικονομία….

    Εκει που πολλοί σκέπτονται και επικεντρώνονται ειναι οι μειωμενες επιδόσεις σε εξειδικευμένες αποστολές όμως τι αεροσκάφος απλα ήταν κσι παραμένει να ειναι η πλατφόρμα οπότε εκείνο που αλλάζει είναι το οπλικο σύστημα το οποίο επίσης αλλάζει γίνεται ‘εξυπνο’ και αφιεται αυτονομο η ημιαυτονομο από συνεχως αυξανόμενες αποστάσεις όσο ανεβαίνει η τεχνολογία. Αυτό όμως οταν γίνει ανοίγει και την δυνατότητα σχεδόν οποιαδήποτε πλατφόρμας να χρησιμοποιηθεί. Φεριπην τα F-4 απλα σηκώνονται ανεβαίνουν σε όσο μεγαλύτερο ύψος δυνανται και μετα απλα αφηνουν τα εξυπνα οπλα τα οποια έχουν πλεον ΑΙ να ξεκινησουν να κανουν την δουλειά απο μεγάλες αποστάσεις.

    Έπειτα με ενα τόσο μεγαλο πρόγραμμα οσα κράτη εχουν μπει στο πρόγραμμα θα παραμένουν δεσμευμένα για τους λογους που εχουν ηδη εκφρασθεί αρκετές φορές. Η επενδυση πολυ μεγάλη οχι μόνον εν των ΗΠΑ και η εξάρτηση του λογισμικού δένει αυτά τα κράτη στο αρμα των ΗΠΑ ειδάλλως τα αεροσκάφη δεν θα επιχειρούν (ακόμη και τα Ισραηλινά δεν είναι τελείως ανεξάρτητα)

    Έπειτα δεν είναι θέμα πλήρους αορατοτητος του αεροσκάφους αρκει να έχει την δυνατότητα παθητικής ανιχνευσεως ωστε να δει πρώτο και να πλήξη πρώτο τον στόχο ειτε εις αερος αερος αποστολές είτε εις αερος εδάφους κτλ. Εννοείται οτι το σύστημα ως σύστημα ακόμη ειναι εις ανάπτυξη άρα οτι γραφουν οι του GAO το 2016 δεν πρεπει να μάς προκαλούν έκπληξη.

    Απο την άποψη ανιχνευσεως του αεροσκάφους αλλα και άλλων συστημάτων μερικής αορατοτητος (εδω βλέπουμε οτι έγινε και η επιλογή για τα βομβαρδιστικά ώστε να μην ειναι υπερηχητικα εφόσον οσο αυξάνεται η ταχυτης αυξάνεται και η ανίχνευση ενεκα της θερμοτητος ) αρα υποηχητικα αεροσκάφη διότι στοιχίζει και το συστημα είναι ποιο περίπλοκο (κοιτα το SR-71 όμως και μηχανές οπως το RL-10 εχουν παρομοια τεχνολογία και χρησιμοποιείται σε αλλα συστήματα ) έρχεται με εναν συνδυασμό αλλων πολλαπλών τεχνολογιών που όμως οι ίδιες η μαλλον ο συνδυασμός παραμένει πολύπλοκος μεχρι στιγμής.

    Εντάξει αυτα για τώρα ας προσπαθούμε να μην ‘τσιμπαμε’ σε δολώματα έπειτα η καθε τεχνολογία ξεπερνιέται ενεκα προόδου..αλλες έρχονται τελικά εμεις τι κάνουμε αυτό έχει την μεγαλυτερη σημασια και αξία. Οταν ο άνθρωπος δεθεί ολικα στην τεχνολογία αυτο θα είναι και η απόλυτη φυλακη του.

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