18 July 2011
Lots to report from the last month –
first we’ll look at the Status of the Navy. Unfortunately,
that great graphic we were presenting has been stopped by
the powers-that-are because of security concerns.
This issue continues with “ALL HANDS ON
DECK”, a few articles covering the need for naval power and
recent “discussions” surrounding the Navy budget and carrier
construction. ALL HANDS! – we need to be involved. We
need to carry our mission
educate and encourage an interest among the general public
as to the importance of Naval Aviation in the defense of the
United States and its allies….” to every place
and every person. It is
vital that we educate the American people as to how the
security of our Nation depends on a strong Navy and Marine
Corps and Coast Guard centered on the myriad facets of Naval
Aviation. Current combat operations are proving that daily
and, while we do not know from whence will come the next
threats to our security, we do know that Naval Aviation will
be on scene wherever in the world it may be needed, ready
for whatever it must meet. Tell your friends, your
neighbors, your local representatives, your Congressmen -
they must resist any actions that will weaken Naval
After ALL HANDS, there are quite a few
articles on F-35 – lots of news as the programs continues to
make progress. Finally, the latest “Executing the Maritime
Strategy” and Air Plan #18 round out this issue.
STATUS OF THE NAVY
Reunions and Information Requested
All Hands on Deck!!
The Oldest and the Newest
The Last A-3
Executing the Maritime Strategy 7 July 2011 and AIR PLAN
#18 July 2011
Each title above is a hyperlink. Use
the CTRL key and click on the link to go to the article.
Status of the Navy
July 18, 2011
101,527 [As of 11 Apr 2011 ]
Selected Reserves: 65,112
Individual Ready Reserve: 36,415
Reserves currently mobilized:
5,007 [As of 05 Jul 2011]
Personnel on deployment:
Navy Department Civilian Employees:
Ships and Submarines
Deployable Battle Force Ships:
Ships Underway (away from homeport):
132 ships (46% of total)
On deployment: 116 ships (40% of total)
Attack submarines underway (away from homeport):
30 subs (56%)
14 subs (26%)
USS Dwight Eisenhower (CVN 69) - Atlantic
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) - Pacific Ocean
USS George Washington (CVN 73) - 7th Fleet
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) - 5th Fleet
USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) - 5th Fleet
Amphibious Warfare Ships:
USS Wasp (LHD 1) - Atlantic Ocean
USS Boxer (LHD 4) - 5th Fleet
USS Bataan (LHD 5) - Mediterranean Sea
RETURN TO INDEX
REUNIONS and INFORMATION
The Jacksonville BALD EAGLES
Squadron is trying to find anyone that was in VF-9 in USS
LEXINGTON in 1945. If that’s you or you know of someone who
was, please contact Dutch at
A VP-24 reunion will be held at
the Jacksonville Riverfront Crowne Plaza in Jacksonville
November 3rd through November 6th 2011. This is the weekend
of the NAS JAX Airshow featuring the Blue Angels.
Contact Jim Burris, 8342 Chessman
Court, Jacksonville, FL 32244
Phone: (904) 778-8507
22 April 2011 Tucson, AZ.
Details on the Sea Devils web site at
http://www.hc7seadevils.org/. If you need
additional information please contact
rescue log is at
you want to see which of our friends & associates they have
picked up over the years.
RETURN TO INDEX
ALL HANDS ON DECK!!
The Necessity of
U.S. Naval Power
Our maritime forces provide an
GORDON ENGLAND, JAMES L. JONES, AND VERN CLARK
citizens, and especially our servicemen and women, expect
and deserve a thorough review of critical security
decisions. After all, decisions today will affect the
nation's strategic position for future generations.
security environment underscores two broad security trends.
First, international political realities and the
internationally agreed-to sovereign rights of nations will
increasingly limit the sustained involvement of American
permanent land-based, heavy forces to the more extreme
crises. This will make offshore options for deterrence and
power projection ever more paramount in support of our
naval dimensions of American power will re-emerge as the
primary means for assuring our allies and partners, ensuring
prosperity in times of peace, and countering anti-access,
area-denial efforts in times of crisis. We do not believe
these trends will require the dismantling of land-based
forces, as these forces will remain essential reservoirs of
power. As the United States has learned time and again, once
a crisis becomes a conflict, it is impossible to predict
with certainty its depth, duration and cost.
the U.S. has been shrinking its overseas land-based
installations, so the ability to project power globally will
make the forward presence of naval forces an even more
essential dimension of American influence.
What we do
believe is that uniquely responsive Navy-Marine Corps
capabilities provide the basis on which our most vital
overseas interests are safeguarded. Forward presence and
engagement is what allows the U.S. to maintain awareness, to
deter aggression, and to quickly respond to threats as they
arise. Though we clearly must be prepared for the high-end
threats, such preparation should be made in balance with the
means necessary to avoid escalation to the high end in the
versatility of maritime forces provides a truly unmatched
advantage. The sea remains a vast space that provides nearly
unlimited freedom of maneuver. Command of the sea allows for
the presence of our naval forces, supported from a network
of shore facilities, to be adjusted and scaled with little
external restraint. It permits reliance on proven
capabilities such as prepositioned ships.
capabilities encourage and enable cooperation with other
nations to solve common sea-based problems such as piracy,
illegal trafficking, proliferation of W.M.D., and a host of
other ills, which if unchecked can harm our friends and
interests abroad, and our own citizenry at home. The
flexibility and responsiveness of naval forces provide our
country with a general strategic deterrent in a potentially
violent and unstable world. Most importantly, our naval
forces project and sustain power at sea and ashore at the
time, place, duration, and intensity of our choosing.
enduring qualities, tough choices must clearly be made,
especially in light of expected tight defense budgets. The
administration and the Congress need to balance the
resources allocated to missions such as strategic
deterrence, ballistic missile defense, and cyber warfare
with the more traditional ones of sea control and power
projection. The maritime capability and capacity vital to
the flexible projection of U.S. power and influence around
the globe must surely be preserved, especially in light of
available technology. Capabilities such as the Joint Strike
Fighter will provide strategic deterrence, in addition to
tactical long-range strike, especially when operating from
forward-deployed naval vessels.
respond quickly, the Navy-Marine Corps team integrates sea,
air, and land power into adaptive force packages spanning
the entire spectrum of operations, from everyday cooperative
security activities to unwelcome—but not impossible—wars
between major powers. This is exactly what we will need to
meet the challenges of the future.
Mr. England is a former secretary of the Navy. Mr. Jones is
a former commandant of the Marine Corps. Mr. Clark is a
former chief of naval operations.
Forbes: Navy May Nix One Aircraft Carrier And Delay Another
officials are considering removing one aircraft carrier from
its plans as the Pentagon trims its budgets, Rep. Randy
Forbes (R-Va.) said Tuesday.
Defense Department and other national security agencies
prepare to cut $400 billion over 10 years — and perhaps more
— each military service will be asked to shrink its budgets.
remains unclear just how much the Navy will be directed to
cut from its annual budget.
a House Armed Services Committee Readiness subcommittee
hearing, Forbes said cuts of those sizes concern him. The
potential ramifications on the sea service's fleet could be
big, he said.
noted Navy officials are considering delaying buying the
aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) by two years,
which was first reported by Defense News this month.
Forbes said he has heard the Navy also is considering
stripping another future carrier from its long-term
shipbuilding plan. That eyebrow-raising remark likely will
send ripple waves across the Defense community
Lawmakers from districts and states that are home to U.S.
carriers and their related industries are likely to make a
lot of noise if such plans are included in the sea service's
2013 budget plan.
senior admirals testifying at the session did not directly
respond to Forbes's questions about either alleged change in
aircraft carrier plans.
aircraft carrier JFK is expected to cost around $10.3
billion, according to a recent Congressional Research
Service study. The following aircraft carrier, CVN-80, is
slated for delivery in 2018 with a projected cost of around
$13.5 billion, according to CRS.
the services will do everything possible to spare hardware
platforms, big-ticket items like aircraft carriers can
produce big savings quickly. But, notably, ones that are
planned could also be added back in down the road.
AND AND AND
95,000-ton elephant in the room
Posted in DOD Buzz
Has the Obama administration
put the Navy’s future aircraft carriers on Washington’s
proverbial “table” as part of the high-stakes, long-term
“Your guess on that is as good
as mine,” said Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes, the Republican
chair of the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness
subcommittee. But Forbes warns that where there’s smoke,
there could be fire: “We know that there have been these
rumors circulating out there, which they didn’t deny, and
they told us they’re going to give us confirmation on that.
They’ve already stretched the carrier build time to five
years, so they could stretch it to seven years, or they may
be thinking of doing away with one of the carriers
altogether … Nobody came back and said, ‘oh we’re not going
to do that unless we do a threat assessment’ — it sounded to
me like an acknowledgement that, yep, we can put that on the
“They” were two top Navy
officials, Vice Adm. Bill Burke and Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy,
who appeared Tuesday before Forbes’ committee to talk about
the Navy’s plans to reverse
the degradation of its surface fleet. Admirals and
generals don’t like to step “outside their lane” — least of
all when talking to Congress — so neither witness responded
to Forbes’ questions about carriers. But they also didn’t
say, ‘Give up one or more carriers? No frickin’ way, bro!”
Forbes and other Virginia
lawmakers have a huge stake in whatever happens on this
carrier question — billions of dollars and thousands of jobs
in Hampton Roads depend on Navy shipbuilding . But if the
Pentagon or the White House think that delaying or deleting
future ships can make the numbers work out in a deal with
Republicans, they might hold their noses and make that deal,
given all the unique implications here:
Huntington Ingalls Industries’
Newport News Shipbuilding is the only yard in the country
that can build nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, and
although it would be hurt by delays or cancellations in new
aircraft carriers, it would not close. The yard also builds
submarines, and does the refueling and complex overhauls on
the Navy’s existing carriers, halfway through their service
lives. If the Navy changed its long-term carrier plans as
part of a budget deal, and then America becomes prosperous
again in a few years, DoD could try to change its
shipbuilding program back again, betting that Newport News
could survive the interim and then get back to full steam
How would Congress respond to
such a proposal? In short, it would go bonkers, as would the
many devotees of aircraft carriers whose legendary ferocity
has helped safeguard the big ships from budgeteers for so
long. But in Austerity America, there are no good choices,
and you could even argue that the Navy would be getting a
good deal, since it would keep its existing carriers and air
wings, rather than losing those too. The fleet would have to
stretch the units it has even more, but the U.S. wouldn’t
lose much of its ability to project power.
All or none of this could be
real, and people always talk about carrier cuts as a
possibility around budget time — for years, many
Navy-watchers were convinced that then-Secretary Gates would
support big fleet reductions after he questioned the need
for 11 carriers. But it never happened. The question today
is whether this is just another scare or whether the dire
U.S. fiscal situation means it’s a serious possibility.
AND AND AND
Pentagon May Change Carrier, SSBN(X) Plans
Jul 14, 2011
Top of Form
By Michael Fabey
U.S. Defense Department is considering delaying, cutting
back or canceling planned future aircraft carriers and
ballistic missile submarines to meet its budget-reduction
mandates, says U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Northrop Grumman concept
looking at all the options,” Cartwright said July 14
following a Defense Writers Group breakfast interview
acknowledges the Pentagon is considering delaying deliveries
of the proposed next-generation Ford-class carriers — or
even more severe options such as canceling one of the
carriers and reducing the overall carrier fleet size.
acknowledges, the Pentagon is mulling whether to cancel the
proposed SSBN(X) ballistic missile submarine replacement and
instead use a more “evolutionary” approach by elongating SSN
Virginia-class attack subs.
certainly something that’s being considered,” he says.
“Nothing is off the table.”
Pentagon is “relooking” at its overall strategy to determine
not only how carriers, for example, can be used, but what
types of other ships or assets could be employed or deployed
with what kind of capability and at what cost, Cartwright
to Cartwright’s comments, Navy spokesman Cmdr. Danny
Hernandez said, “Specific details and discussions are
pre-decisional and part of program objective memorandum (POM)
of these ideas are particularly new, they seem to be getting
much greater traction as Defense Department officials
struggle to make deeper budget cuts than they had thought
they would have to.
analysts started to question whether the Pentagon should
more seriously consider cutting the aircraft carrier fleet
when the Defense Department started to rely more on
large-deck amphibious ships in recent conflicts and
disaster-relief missions that normally would have been
tasked to carriers (Aerospace DAILY, July 14).
use Virginia-class subs for ballistic missile missions date
back nearly to the sub’s inception, but the idea seemed to
be more or less abandoned as the nation decided to use
larger D5 missiles that essentially are incompatible with
the vessel’s design, analysts say.
naval analyst and author Norman Polmar notes in a July
article for the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings magazine,
the Virginia could be redesigned for a missile compartment
and related fire-control and berthing spaces to carry 12 or
more Trident C4-sized missiles.
redesigned Virginia would cost about $3.5 billion, Polmar
says, compared with the SSBN(X) vessel slated to cost
between $5 billion and $7 billion per vessel — provided the
design and building of the new class plays out as planned.
important,” Polmar writes, “the actual cost of building a
Virginia-class SSN is a known factor, while the current
SSBN(X) cost estimate is ephemeral, at best.”
Polmar contends, it would be better to supplement the boomer
fleet now with the redesigned Virginias while working a
truly modern ballistic missile sub design that would be much
more survivable given the threats likely to exist in the
latter part of this century.
RETURN TO INDEX
Oldest and Newest
110621-N-JL826-002 RED SEA (June 21,
2011) The Navy's oldest aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN
65), right, passes the Navy's newest aircraft carrier, USS
George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), during a transit of the Strait of
Bab el Mandeb. George H.W. Bush arrives in the U.S. 5th
Fleet area of responsibility to take over operations for
Enterprise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication
Specialist 2nd Class Brooks B. Patton Jr./Released)
RETURN TO INDEX
Subject: ANCIENT ALBATROSS CHANGE OF WATCH
R 132141Z JUL 11
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//CCG//
SUBJ: ANCIENT ALBATROSS CHANGE OF WATCH
1. I AM PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE RADM GARY T BLORE WILL TRANSFER THE HONOR
AND MANTLE OF THE ANCIENT ALBATROSS TO VADM JOHN P. CURRIER ON 14
JULY 2011 AT SECTOR COLUMBIA RIVER ASTORIA, OR. RADM BLORE ACCEPTED
THE ANCIENT ALBATROSS ARTIFACTS DURING A CEREMONY IN ELIZABETH CITY,
NC ON 01 OCTOBER 2009.
2. THE ANCIENT ALBATROSS IS A PRESTIGIOUS HONOR BESTOWED UPON THE
INDIVIDUAL WHO HAS HELD AN AVIATION DESIGNATION FOR THE LONGEST
PERIOD OF TIME. SINCE ITS INCEPTION IN 1966, THERE HAVE BEEN
TWENTY-TWO AVIATORS ACCORDED THIS RECOGNITION.
3. AS RADM BLORE PREPARES TO TRANSITION INTO RETIREMENT FROM ACTIVE
SERVICE, WE SEND OUR SINCERE THANKS FOR HIS LONG AND DEDICATED
SERVICE TO COAST GUARD AVIATION AND TO OUR NATION.
4. I CONGRATULATE VADM CURRIER ON HIS DESIGNATION AS OUR TWENTY-THIRD
ANCIENT ALBATROSS. IN THIS CAPACITY I AM CERTAIN HE WILL ABLY
REPRESENT THE RICH TRADITIONS OF COAST GUARD AVIATION AND THE
HUNDREDS OF COAST GUARD MEN AND WOMEN WHO FLY AND PROVIDE DAILY
SUPPORT FOR COAST GUARD MISSIONS.
5. ADM BOB PAPP, COMMANDANT AND THIRTEENTH GOLD ANCIENT MARINER,
6. INTERNET RELEASE IS AUTHORIZED.
RETURN TO INDEX
The Last A-3 Skywarrior
The last Douglas A-3 Skywarrior lands
RETURN TO INDEX
“Taking STOVL to a New Level”, a good
technically informative video on the F35B by Lockheed Martin
can be found at
LOCKHEED MARTIN F-35 PROGRAM
FLIGHT TEST UPDATE
WORTH, Texas – Since the last F-35 flight test program
update issued March 31, Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] F-35
Lightning II aircraft have conducted 125 test flights,
bringing the total number of flights for the year to 331.
Several flight test key milestones were accomplished since
the last report:
The F-35 program flew the most flights
ever recorded on one day (May 6) when a combined total of
eight test flights were completed at all three of its flight
test locations. (Edwards AFB, Calif.; Fort Worth, Texas, and
Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.)
The U.S. Air Force accepted into its
fleet the first of a planned 1,763 production-model F-35
Lightning II stealth fighters when AF-7 was delivered to
Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on May 6. It is the first
aircraft from Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) lot one
The first F-35A production aircraft
that will be delivered to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.,
accomplished its first flight on May 6. Known as AF-8, the
aircraft will be delivered to Eglin for pilot and maintainer
training later this year. This jet is the first aircraft to
fly from Low Rate Initial Production lot two.
The second F-35C carrier variant (CV),
known as CF-2 completed, its first flight April 29. Later
this month it is scheduled to be delivered to the F-35 test
fleet at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., (PAX).
The program recorded the 300th
System Development and Demonstration flight of 2011 on May
At Edwards, F-35s passed the 250 flight
mark of the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant
on May 5. The first test jets, AF-1 and AF-2, arrived there
on May 17, 2010.
Two more F-35B short takeoff /vertical
landing (STOVL) jets, BF-3 and BF-4 performed their first
vertical landings. BF-4 flew its mission on Apr. 27 and
BF-3 on Apr. 29. STOVL jets have conducted 94 vertical
landings to date in 2011.
following totals and highlights capture the overall flight
test activity since March 31, and cumulative totals for
F-35A (CTOL) aircraft conducted 57
flights. In 2011, CTOL jets have flown 146 times.
F-35B (STOVL) aircraft conducted 43
flights. In 2011, STOVL aircraft have completed 144 flights
and 84 vertical landings.
F-35C (CV) aircraft accomplished 25
flights. In 2011, CV jets have flown 41 times.
From the start of flight testing in
December 2006 through Tuesday, F-35s flew 878 times.
Factbox: Key facts about the Pentagon's biggest arms program
FORT WORTH, Texas
(Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N)
is developing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for the U.S.
military and eight international partners at a projected
cost of more than $382 billion, making it the Pentagon's
most expensive weapons program. Following are facts about
company and subcontractors Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N)
and BAE Systems (BAES.L)
are developing three variants of the plane, a conventional
takeoff and landing (CTOL) model for the Air Force; a short
takeoff, vertical landing (STOVL) variant for the U.S.
Marine Corps and
and one with wider wings for the Navy to use on aircraft
Air Force plans to buy 1,763 of the conventional model; the
Navy will buy 680 of the short takeoff and carrier variants
for a total of 2,443 for the U.S. military.
foreign partners on the program -- Britain, Canada, Norway,
Denmark, the Netherlands, Turkey, Italy and
-- will contribute $4.8 billion to the development of the
plane, and plan to buy more than 700 production aircraft.
Israel, the first foreign military sales customer, signed a
$2.75 billion preliminary agreement in October 2010 to buy
19 F-35s, with an option for one more. Over time, the
country plans to buy about 75 of the fighter jets.
Other countries interested in the F-35 include Singapore,
South Korea, Finland, Spain,
and Belgium. Lockheed expects to submit a proposal to the
Japanese government this fall as part of that country's new
latest Pentagon acquisition report to Congress estimated the
average cost of each F-35 fighter to be $110 million in 2002
dollars, including research and development costs, up from
the previous estimate of $97 million.
Excluding development costs, the average price per airplane
is estimated to be $91 million, also in 2002 dollars, up
from $79 million per plane in December 2009.
week, the Air Force accepted the first production plane,
dubbed AF-7, and it was ferried to Edwards Air Force Base in
California for testing. The Air Force is expected to accept
delivery of a second production plane later this week.
U.S. Navy plans to conduct sea trials of the Marine Corps'
short-takeoff variant on the USS Wasp, an amphibious assault
ship, off the coast of Virginia this October.
late June, the carrier variant will begin testing on land of
a catapult launching system and a hook that keeps the plane
from sliding off the deck of a carrier.
May 23, Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter and other
top defense officials are scheduled to review progress on
the F-35 program and an updated independent cost estimate.
The military services are also expected to submit revised
dates for when they plan to begin using the new planes.
new fighter plane has executed 878 of 7,700 planned flight
tests since testing began in December 2006. So far this
year, the program has done 331 flight tests.
F-35 fighter jet is 42 percent built of composite materials.
The plane is just over 50 feet long and can travel at a
speed of Mach 1.6. The variants have a range of up to 900 to
1,200 nautical miles and carry 15,000 to 18,000 pounds of
Pentagon estimates it will cost about $1 trillion to operate
and maintain the three variants over the next 50 years.
Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter wants a thorough
review of that figure, saying it is not affordable.
Lockheed officials say the plane's operation and maintenance
costs will be about half that of older fighter planes. They
say the plane will require half the spares of older planes
and about 60 percent less testing equipment.
The F-35 is designed to
replace the U.S. Air Force’s F-16 and A-10, the Marines’
AV-8B, F/A-18 and EA-6B, and to complement the Navy’s F/A-
18E/F. DAVID DRAIS/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company /PRNewsFoto
The Tulsa World
Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the
Swiss Army knife of combat weapons versatility and
At $65 million to $112.5
million per aircraft at its drive-the-car-off-the-lot cost
and $382 billion in total program costs, the F-35 is the
Pentagon's most expensive weapons program (see "Figuring
F-35 costs" on E2).
But at more than twice the
price of the newest commercial airliner, the fifth
generation fighter may be worth it: more impervious to
radar, performing more roles and replacing more aircraft in
the nation's arsenal than any aircraft in history, industry
and military officials said.
single-engine F-35 is designed to replace the U.S. Air
Force's F-16 and A-10, the Marines' AV-8B, F/A-18 and EA-6B,
and to complement the Navy's F/A-18E/F.
Its capabilities include
conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) for the Air Force,
short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) for the Marines,
and aircraft carrier-based operations for the Navy.
Its combat missions include
ground attack, reconnaissance and air defense - all with
stealth or radar-evading capability, Pentagon and industry
While the F-35 is a wonder
of technological achievement, it is also wonderously
expensive, its critics say.
But Richard Aboulafia, vice
president of Teal Group, a company in Fairfax, Va., that
analyzes the aerospace and defense industry, said the F-35
program's complexity was compounded by its timing: the
Defense Department awarded the F-35 program to Lockheed
Martin on Oct. 26, 2001 - six weeks after 9/11.
modernization) plan would have worked were it not for Iraq,"
Aboulafia told "National Guard" magazine last month. "It
threw everyone's plans for sustainment for a loop."
Steve Callaghan, director
of the F-35 program for Lockheed Martin and former Navy
pilot who flew the F-14, F-16 and FA-18, said each of the
armed services has different basing requirements for its
The time may be past when
the United States could afford multiple aircraft for the Air
Force, Marines and Navy, industry officials say.
"The most efficient and
cost-effective way to meet those requirements is to have one
program - one airplane with three different variants,"
Callaghan said. "It's not just the cost of developing three
different airplanes but, over time, your ability to sustain
operating costs, which is less than it would be with three
Callaghan and Pentagon
officials said it is time for the Air Force, Marines and
Navy to recapitalize their fighter aircraft capabilities.
The fourth-generation aircraft the F-35 will replace are 20-
to 25 years old, they said.
"The aerodynamics, mission
systems, sustainment and stealth of the airplane are as good
or better than the fourth generation aircraft," Callaghan
The stealth capabilities of
the F-35 are built into the aircraft in the manufacturing
process from the beginning, using a composite epoxy fiber
mat as opposed to the high-maintenance coatings of legacy or
existing stealth aircraft, Lockheed Martin officials said.
"Stealth gives the aircraft
the ability to go deep into heavily defended airspace to
heavily defended targets to prosecute (an attack) with
lethal precision, bomb the target and return to base without
being shot down," Callaghan said. "The airplane is designed
for the threat of today, tomorrow and into the long-term
To date, the Defense
Department is proposing to order 2,443 F-35s: 1,763 CTOL
versions for the Air Force; 260 carrier variants for the
Navy, and 80 STOVL versions for the Marines. Another 1,400
F-35s are expected to be produced for program partners the
United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada,
Denmark, Norway and Australia, officials said.
The F-35 also means 127,000
direct and indirect jobs at 1,300 supplier companies across
the U.S., including Helicomb International and LaBarge Inc.
in Tulsa, officials said.
printed circuit card assemblies for the F-35.
Brig. Gen. Michael Hepner,
commander of the Tulsa-based 138th Fighter Wing of the
Oklahoma Air National Guard, said his unit flies 21 F-16s
that are 20 years old. "It's like a car, the older they get,
the more maintenance they need," Hepner said.
The F-35s, which the 138th
Fighter Wing expects to receive in the 2015-and-beyond time
frame, has a range of capabilities, including stealth,
sensors and communications, not available to fourth
generation aircraft, Hepner said.
"It will be enhanced
situational awareness for pilots and commanders controlling
the air war," Hepner said. "It's about the size of a F-16,
but it sits up a little taller than a F-16."
Asked about the cost,
Hepner said the military must be good stewards of the
taxpayers' money, but the mission is paramount.
"Who are you going to fight
the next war against?" Hepner said. "There are
fifth-generation airplanes out there - the Chinese have a
stealth-looking fighter than looks like the F-22."
China's J-20 "Black Silk"
stealth fighter made its first flight on Jan. 11 at Chengdu,
China, said Defense Update -
tulsaworld.com/defenseupdate - the online
defense magazine published in Israel.
Before the J-20's debut,
many in the defense community doubted China had the
technological expertise to develop a fifth generation
"However," Defense Update
said, "today's flight substantiates the claims that China
could have passed the technological barrier enabling the
country to develop advanced military aircraft."
Hepner said the F-35 is an
expensive airplane, but ..."You have to remember air
dominance," he said. "You have to have control of the
F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter specifications
Multirole, multiservice international fifth-generation
2,443 for U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marines; up to 1,400 for
Cost: $65 million
(unit recurring flyaway cost) to $110 million (total
ownership cost, including lifetime maintenance, parts and
labor), in 2010 dollars.
Length: 51.2 feet to
Height: 14.3 feet to
Wingspan: 35 feet to
Speed (full weapons
load): 1,200 mph.
Range: 1,035 miles
to 1,380 miles.
Weight empty: 29,300
pounds to 34,800 pounds.
60,000 pounds to 70,000 pounds.
weapons load: 25 mm GAU-22
A cannon, two AIM-120C
air-to-air missiles, two 2,000-pound GBU-31 JDAM guided
bombs (Air Force version); two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles,
two 1,000-pound GBU-32 JDAM guided bombs (Marines version);
two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles, two 2,000-pound GBU-31
JDAM guided bombs (Navy version).
Source: Lockheed Martin
Military May Deploy F-35 Before Formal IOC
By DAVE MAJUMDAR
U.S. military may deploy the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike
Fighter (JSF) before the tri-service fighter is formally
declared Initial Operational Capable (IOC), top uniformed
officials told Congress on May 24.
While the U.S. Marine Corps has always maintained that it
would declare IOC with interim Block 2B software, the U.S.
Air Force and U.S. Navy require that the aircraft be fielded
with Block 3 software before the jet is formally declared
operational. However, in testimony before the Senate Armed
Services Committee, leaders from both services said they
would consider deploying the fifth-generation stealth
fighter into combat zones with interim Block 2B software
provided that there were no safety concerns.
The Navy's director of warfare integration, Rear Adm. David
Philman, who was also testifying, concurred.
"I don't see any reason we wouldn't be able to be told to go
into theater, assuming all the safety considerations have
been taken care of," he said.
Both the Navy and the Air Force would have some number of
the aircraft prior to any IOC date, but the specifics of how
many planes would be available is not yet known.
"We will have a number, probably on the order of a 100,
airplanes delivered to operational units before we declare
Initial Operational Capability," Carlisle said. "Clearly,
although we may not declare IOC, we'll be training, we'll be
doing the tactics, training and procedures with the Block
The maintenance and logistical systems would also be built
during that period, he said.
Philman said the Navy would have some aircraft available but
not as many as the Air Force.
Marine Lt. Gen. Terry Robling, that service's deputy
commandant for aviation, who was testifying alongside
Carlisle and Philman, said that his service still plans to
declare IOC with the interim Block 2B software and would
have about 50 F-35s available near that time. He said IOC
for the Marines is now estimated to fall between 2014 and
2015, which is a two-year slip.
Even with the interim software, the F-35 would be vastly
more capable than existing warplanes, they said.
"There is a lot of capability even in the Block 2 airplanes
that look very impressive," Carlisle said.
However, the Air Force and the Navy will both insist upon
Block 3 hardware and software for their formal IOC
declarations, both Carlisle and Philman said.
Insisting on the Block 3 configuration allows the Pentagon
to keep the pressure on Lockheed Martin, the contractor that
builds the F-35.
"I'll be perfectly frank: In a lot of cases, if you delay an
IOC, you can maintain pressure on a contractor," Carlisle
IOC for the Air Force and Navy, like the Marines, will slip
by about two years from 2016, Carlisle and Philman said.
None of the three services has set a fixed IOC date, but
Philman said the 2016 date is no longer valid.
Navy Gets 3rd and Final Test F-35C
By JOSHUA STEWART
The last of three F-35C
Lightning II test planes arrived at Naval Air Station
Patuxent River, Md., on June 3, the final major milestone
before some go to New Jersey for testing and attempting one
of the most complex feats in aviation: taking off and
landing from an aircraft carrier.
It’s the latest benchmark in the
Navy’s piece of the Joint Strike Fighter’s development. It
comes after the development time frame was expected in 2001
to take 10 years and result in aircraft costing $69 million
each. Since then, costs have expanded to around $112
million per plane and development is expected to end in 2016
before entering fullrate production in 2018.
“It’s important to note that
testing for the F-35B [Marine jump-jet variant] and F-35C
are progressing well this year, with more than 1,700 test
points completed as of May 21, ahead of the plan of
approximately 900,” Naval Air Systems Command spokesman
Cmdr. Victor Chen wrote in an email.
The delivery of Lockheed
Martin’s third and final F-35C fills out the order of the
Navy’s test planes. Test flights at Pax River are expected
to end this summer before heading to more carrier-specific
This summer, CF-1, the first
F-35C test aircraft delivered to the Navy, and CF-3 are
slated for testing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst,
N.J. CF-1 will go for deck heating, jet blast deflector
panel cooling and other tests before returning to Pax
River. Later in the summer, CF-1 will return to New Jersey
with CF-3 for dual jet blast deflector tests, roll-in
assessments and steam catapult launches. All three aircraft
will return to Pax River for more carrier suitability
Carrier tests are expected to
begin in 2013. The carrier and the location have not been
The Marine Corps is scheduled to
receive its fifth and final jump-jet aircraft before the end
of this year.
In January, Defense Secretary
Robert Gates put the F-35B on a two-year probation, putting
the plane closer to being canceled if technical problems are
A Government Accountability
Office report released in May criticizes the development of
all three F-35 variants, citing delays, engineering
revisions and cost increases that have dogged the program.
The report says a recent restructuring of the development
and testing process brightens the program’s prospects but
also brings initial cost increases and delays.
Overall, the program had “mixed
success” in 2010, when it achieved
six of 12 major goals. Developmental tests were in the
early phases; 4 percent of the plane’s capabilities had been
2011: Multi-mission Supersonic Stealth May Be Possible, but
Is the F-35 Affordable
Aviation International News
(Wednesday, June 22, 2011)
Lockheed Martin F-35 development program has met or
exceeded the revised flight-test schedule that was written
following a technical baseline restructuring (TBR) last
August, according to Lockheed Martin officials. But some
significant technical issues remain, and affordability
continues to be a key concern for the new-generation combat
The Pentagon is expected to
make further adjustments to the F-35 development and
production plan shortly. Since around this time last year:
• the fourth low-rate
initial production batch was contracted, comprising 31
aircraft costing from $127 million to $158 million each,
depending on version;
• Israel confirmed that it
would receive 19 F-35As worth $2.75 billion;
• after a defense review,
the UK switched its order from F-35B STOVL versions to F-35C
carrier landing versions;
• the Pentagon ordered a
further stretchout in production, added 13 months and $4.6
billion to the development phase, and put the F-35B STOVL
version on a “two-year probation.” Lockheed Martin and Pratt
& Whitney admitted four F-35B development problems, but
described solutions for each one;
• the new head of the
F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) said the projected costs
to produce and sustain the F-35 were “simply unacceptable.”
He also said that initial operating capability cannot be
achieved in 2016, as planned;
• night-vision problems
with the Israeli-designed helmet emerged. The F-35 has no
head-up display (HUD), so this helmet is the pilot’s primary
• work on the alternative
F136 engine stopped when Congressional funding lapsed,
although the GE/Rolls-Royce team pledged to continue the
program on its own dollar;
• the last four of 13
development aircraft made their first flights, and the first
two F-35A production aircraft (AF6 and AF7) were delivered;
• static testing was
completed five months ahead of schedule with no failures
(but a bulkhead on the F-35B fatigue test article cracked).
In a recent briefing, Steve
O’Bryan, Lockheed Martin vice president F-35 customer
engagement, talked up progress. “We’re seeing very reliable
flight-test airplanes. We are 20 percent ahead of the TBR on
flight tests, and 30 percent ahead on test pilots,” he said.
The development fleet has already flown more than 350 times
this year, and more than 800 times in total. Another
500-plus test flights are scheduled this calendar year.
(O’Bryan did not mention the in-flight generator failure
last March, which was attributed to excess lubrication, but
did not materially affect flight-test progress).
“Software stability is good
compared to legacy platforms,” O’Bryan said. The Block 1
software, which provides an initial training capability, is
now flying on the next two production F-35As (AF8 and AF9).
They are due for delivery to Eglin AFB, the F-35 training
base, shortly. The pace of mission system software
development will be accelerated by the addition of another
test line manned by 190 people this summer, as mandated by
The Block 2 software is now
being loaded into the CATbird flying test bed. This adds
about one million lines of code (LOC) to the six million
already written for Blocks 0.5 and 1. Block 2 provides the
F-35 with networking capability and therefore “an initial
war-fighting capability.” It will be on the low-rate initial
production (LRIP) Lot 3 and 4 jets.
Eventually, another two
million LOC must be written and tested for the definitive
Block 3 with full data fusion, which should be flying by
2015 in time for initial operational test and evaluation the
following year. To speed the process, the TBR re-allocated
three of the early LRIP jets to mission systems software
development (and another three to other development tasks).
The first flights tests of
the F-35’s low observability have produced “very, very good
results,” according to JPO chief vice admiral David Venlet.
Development aircraft AF3 flew against radars and signature
measurement devices on the Nevada Test Range and validated
the results previously achieved in ground tests.
Now the challenge is to
replicate the same degree of stealth on each aircraft off
the production line. And, for sure, the first two production
aircraft–AF6 and AF7–did recently pass the stealth test in
the anechoic chamber and in pole testing.
The F-35 pilot’s helmet is
supplied by Vision Systems International (VSI), a U.S.-based
joint venture between Rockwell Collins and Elbit Systems.
O’Bryan said it is flying successfully in daytime flight,
although there have been reports of jitter in the projected
In addition, the challenge
of providing night vision by importing medium-wave infrared
imagery (MWIR) from the aircraft’s distributed aperture
system has proved difficult so far. Therefore, Lockheed
Martin has recently issued an RFP for “traditional”
night-vision goggles hoping that this unanticipated add-on
would require only a minimal modification of the aircraft’s
An alternative view of F-35
development progress was offered by the U.S. Government
Accountability Office (GAO) in its latest audit of the
program two months ago. “As of December 2010, about four
percent of F-35 capabilities have been completely verified
by flight tests, lab results, or both. Only three of the
extensive network of 32 ground test labs and simulation
models are fully accredited to ensure the fidelity of
results,” the GAO reported.
continue at higher than expected rates...and more changes
are expected as testing accelerates,” it added. Software
development is a moving target, it noted; the total lines of
code predicted to be needed for the F-35 is already 40
percent greater than originally anticipated.
What of the troubled F-35B
program? Was U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates being
unduly pessimistic when he spoke of the possible need to
“redesign the aircraft’s structure and propulsion...changes
that could add yet more weight and more cost to an aircraft
that has little capacity to absorb more of either.”
According to O’Bryan,
reliability problems with the STOVL version’s lift-fan
actuators and rudder pedals that limited flight test sorties
last year have been overcome. A design to strengthen the
auxiliary inlet doors so that they can be opened at high
speed (250 knots) has passed preliminary design review, and
will be flight tested early next year. Driveshaft spacers
that solve a thermal expansion problem have already been
fitted to the five development aircraft. The problem of
unexpected heating at the wingtip roll-post actuators will
be solved by adding extra insulation. Additional cooling air
may be supplied to the lift-fan clutch, which has also been
A steel patch has been
designed to strengthen the F-35B rear fuselage bulkhead,
which cracked during ground durability tests. But this adds
a bit more weight to an aircraft that may already be
uncomfortably close to the maximum for vertical landings
with a full weapons load, the so-called bring-back margin.
The weight that was saved in
the big redesign of the F-35 structure in 2005 was driven by
the F-35B’s power/weight ratio, but was evidently not enough
to address this problem. The contractor and the prime
customer (the U.S. Marine Corps) are still discussing what
the final margin should be.
Could Pratt & Whitney
provide some increased thrust in the F135? Possibly, but
this might further raise engine operating temperatures and
possibly negate the fixes to the driveshaft, clutch and roll
post actuators described above. The F-35B may need all of
the two years “probation” that has been directed by the
A total of 63 aircraft have
now been ordered in four LRIP lots. At Fort Worth, a further
two final assembly stations are being added this summer,
making seven and thus supporting a rate of four aircraft per
[reduction] is world-class,” O’Bryan claimed. Direct Touch
Labor has declined from 250,000 hours for the first SDD
aircraft to close to 100,000 hours today. This trend
encouraged Lockheed Martin to agree to fixed prices for the
32 aircraft in LRIP 4. Negotiations for the 35 aircraft in
LRIP 5 will start shortly.
Replacing seven legacy
fighters (F-16s, F-18s, F-111s, A-10s, AV-8s, Tornados and
AMXs) with one design was never going to be easy, especially
when supersonic stealth was a key design driver. The F-35
program is proving that it can be done, although at a slower
pace and a much higher cost than originally predicted. The
total development tab is now predicted to be a breathtaking
$56.4 billion. Setting that sunk cost aside, whether the
F-35 can be affordably produced and operated still remains
to be seen.
F-35C Begins Initial CVN ‘Suitability’ Tests
For the Navy’s F-35C Lightning II, this
is where the rubber hits the road — in this case, the deck:
The jet has begun the first stages of “carrier suitability
testing,” the Navy announced on Tuesday, at the base
formerly known as Naval Air Station Lakehurst, now known by
the poetic name “Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.”
Navy engineers want to begin to get a
clearer understanding of how the C interacts with the flight
decks and equipment aboard the aircraft carriers that will
be its home, according to an announcement:
“CF-2 and the F-35 integrated test team
from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. are at the NAVAIR
facility in Lakehurst for the first jet blast deflector (JBD)
testing, in preparation for carrier shipboard testing in
2013. The team is at the JBD test facility to evaluate deck
heating, JBD panel cooling, and vibro-acoustic, thermal, and
hot-gas ingestion environments.”
The jet blast deflector is the big metal wall that rises
up out of a carrier’s flight deck behind a jet on the
catapult for launch — how, the Navy wonders, will the
existing ones in the fleet stand up to the F-35’s powerful
engine exhaust? Could carriers that take aboard future
squadrons of F-35s need special modifications or procedures
to accommodate the new aircraft? The Navy wants to answer
these and many other questions as possible before the
Lightning II actually makes its first cats and traps at sea
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