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First Aussie-made JSF part for AU-1 on its way to Texas

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 29, 2012
Minister for Defence Material Jason Clare, right, poses with the first Australian-made part for the first Australian F-35 Joint Strike Fighter during a visit to Melbourne based Lovitt Technologies. (Department of Defence)

The first Australian-made part for the first Australian F-35A Joint Strike Fighter is on its way to Texas.

Manufactured by Lovitt Technologies in Melbourne, the longeron is part of the structure that attaches the aircraft’s wings to its fuselage. The part will be shipped to Lockheed Martin in Texas and — if all goes according to plan — will arrive back in Australia as part of F-35 AU-1 in 2018.

“It leaves as a part and comes back as a plane — one of the most advanced fighter planes in the world,” Minister for Defence Material Jason Clare said.

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Australian companies have won more than $300 million in work as part of the multinational JSF program and have been making F-35 parts for a decade, but this is the first one meant for an Australian fighter.

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16 Comments

  • Rowdy

    says:

    Arrive back in Australia in 2018? I thought the two f-35s on order were to stay in the US to train RAAF pilots. Are they now going to ship them across the pacific?

  • Sam

    says:

    @Rowdy, IIRC we are to take delivery of the first 2 Australian F35 in 2014. My guess would be that this would mean they intend to bring these aircraft back from the US after the first 4 years, either as part of a rotation or to start doing our own conversion training locally when we have the expertise available.

  • Andrew McLaughlin

    says:

    The first two RAAF F-35As will be based at a US training facility from their delivery for aboiut three years, before ferrying to Australia in 2017/18 as part of the first squadron.

  • Dane

    says:

    This why the F-35 is costing so much. LM are subcontracting a lot of the jets parts to smaller companies and there are obvious costs to ship those parts to the assembly lines. It’s all well and good for create jobs back here but if one production company’s product is behind schedule or fails testing, it put the whole project behind and ups costs.

  • Peter

    says:

    Andrew McLaughlin

    You have no clue about air power whatsoever.

    Now you are a senior PR for the NACC. You, your colleagues including AVM Kym Osley are all essentially misleading this nation and the Air Force. The solution to the F-35 debacle is to have blind faith.

    That is a total joke what you stated “the APA nor RepSim have access to the detailed classified F-35 data, their analysis is basically flawed through incorrect assumptions and lack of knowledge of classified F-35 performance information”.

    Just because they don’t have access to the classified F-35 data, the F-35 is still the wrong aircraft for RAAF’s requirements, no matter what classified components you put in that aircraft again still a wrong aircraft. In fact the APA contributors are more knowledgeable than the Air Force, the Department of Defence and far more knowledgable than you Andrew.

    This is a logical fallacy, the argument being that if you don’t have access to classified data, simulation results will be ipso-facto incorrect. Mr Michael Price addressed this issue directly in his presentation on 7th February 2012, advising the Committee that he has had access to classified material at the highest level on the JSF, and was asked to make an assessment of the aircraft, which he did in a highly classified document of which only two copies were produced.

    In addition, he described the process whereby he compared the result of classified simulations with those produced by Harpoon 3 Professional, and found no significant differences. What is important is to understand that much of the data that is fed into simulations both classified and unclassified are representations of the Laws of Physics. The Department of Defence cannot apply security classifications to the Laws of Physics, even if the ‘reasonable and representative’ results are inconvenient. As noted above, the physics of radar reflectivity strongly suggest that the JSF will not be ‘invisible to radar’, nor to infrared sensors, and will be vulnerable to attack as a result.

    According to the Frequently Asked Questions, Dr Carlo Kopp has 25 years of experience as a defence analyst, 20 years of experience as an engineer in industry, and two hard sciences postgraduate degrees – he is the only academic in Australia today with concurrent academic appointments in hard sciences and military strategy – the APA website alone hosts over 250 of his publications; Peter Goon served as an engineer in the RAAF for 14 years, underwent Flight Test Engineer training at the US Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River followed by two back-to-back tours at the RAAF’s Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU), is a founding member of Australian Flight Test Services in Adelaide, a founding member of the Defence Teaming Centre (DTC), which he served as a Director/Deputy Chairman for many years, while becoming a leading contributor to the defence industry reform process. Other APA contributors and reviewers include retired parliamentarians, retired ADF generals, academics in strategic studies, and other former ADF, DoD and defence contractor personnel.

    What Dr Kopp and Peter Goon claim that there is better technology being developed and this will serve to make the plane an expensive mistake. Which I strongly agree

    The F-35 is becoming less affordable as the program develops

    • The stealth capabilities are of a lesser order than other fifth generation aircraft and are likely to decline in effectiveness as military radar technology continues to improve

    • The F-35’s weapons payloads are insufficient for some of the tasks the aircraft will be required to fulfil and

    • The F-35 is less aerodynamically capable (manoeuvrable) than it needs to be to perform adequately in a combat situation, especially against aircraft being developed by Russia (T-50 PAK-FA) and China (Chengdu J-20).

    All in all the JSF is the biggest and ugliest, by far, of all time.

    Andrew you have no clue what you’re talking about. Your argument is all out of the loop and an outlier with all thana marketing information.

    Andrew get out of this organisation, in fact you should be sacked and dismissed from Aerospace Defence Industry which I’m asking you very nicely.

    I believe that you didn’t reported on the JSF in a fair and balanced way, criticising it when warranted, and reporting on its successes and attributes as well. Plus your behaviour can be described as incongruent.

    Why I’m I asked to be sacked and dismissed?

    Is because my friends and colleagues from this organisation don’t have the confidence in you. We have lost very experienced technical engineers were purged a decade ago and replaced by semi-skilled or even unskilled business managers/administrators like you Andrew.

    The End

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      @Peter – personal attacks and vitriol won’t be tolerated on this website. Please play the ball and not the man, otherwise you will be banned from this site. Thanks

  • Peter

    says:

    Andrew McLaughlin

    Going back to what I explained about semi-skilled or even unskilled business managers/administrators. Its been followed over the last decade was a campaign of blaming the weapon system a.k.a the F-111 fleet for shortcomings in the procurement system rather than the proper action of fixing the procurement system etc etc.

    Saying, “No Going Back? There are no viable alternatives for the RAAF to the F-35”. To me is rubbish and totally untruthful and the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G Growler are also wrong aircraft for the requirements too.

    With no viable alternatives you’ll be stuck with an increasingly expensive aeroplane which will result a failure for their air defence program, you’ll face serious consequences that you’ve ruined your plan to shrink the size of the RAAF by degrading the air power further.

    Andrew, you’re fired.

  • William

    says:

    Peter, you obviously don’t have much of an idea either. If the RAAF had implemented some of your ideas, we would have the 747 for a tanker, the now out-dated 1960’s vintage F-111 would be still in service flying alongside the F-22.

    As I have asked you before. What are realistic 5th Gen alternatives to the F-35 that will be available in the 2017-2020 time frame? You’ve never really come up with an answer to that except for the F-15SE or some Russian jet.

    The F-15SE is a Gen4+ and the PAK-FA or the Chengdu J-20 will certainly not be available prior to the end of this decade, nor will this nation ever purchase them.

  • Sam

    says:

    Peter why don’t you just copy and paste the entire APA site next time, it might give you more credibility. I’d also like to know how you have come to find out the reportings contained in classified documents, of which “only two copies were produced”, and where you get the idea that you think its ok to publish these in a public forum? Sort yourself out mate

  • Andrew McLaughlin

    says:

    Peter – who are you to be making such outrageous and defamatory claims and statements? I know Peter Goon or Carlo wouldn’t stoop to such personal attacks.

    I’ve asked you before to email me personally if you wish to continue this ‘conversation’, as I’m sure Australian Aviation subscribers have much more interesting and informative things they’d rather be reading.

    So, I’m at [email protected]

  • Gordy

    says:

    I didn’t think this was the place to air such personal and venomous comments, for now its sitting here in cyberspace for all time immemorial.

    To say that the F-35A is a lemon would be a visit back into the sixties whereupon the sacre cow, err “F-111 pig”, was deemed as a waste of money and a lemon then.

    The F-35 project and budget issue per costs and engineering “deliveries” have a symbiotic effect from its inception to delivery that’s caused some heating in this topic.

    Those who fly the limited number flying have nothing but praise, and are extremely hopeful that it will deliver the contract specifications per targets or better, especially once all of software codes are written!

    Software/Equipment/ Weight and late deliveries left out, by just comparing airframe and engine ratios, this aircraft out performs the F-16C in most envelopes. Apart from a SAM in Bosnia, there aren’t many shootdown records of F-15s and F-16s are there? No there not. Add a F-117 too

    That’s a benchmark, along with training and all of the ancillary for systems(AWAC/Networking)

    We have to take a reality check, the F-22A is out of production, the Pig is dead and buried(Literally), and aside from the F/A-18E/F and F-16E-Blk60, the only conceptional Allied 5th Gen force structure “game in town” is the F-35A/B/C.

    But remember this, aside from postering, we have only used our Fighters twice in combat since post 1945,(Korea and 2003 Gulf) and the RF-111AUP in 1999. So maybe if we don’t telegraph the bad guys any information or intent, we can leave the F-35s on the tarmac in all of their splendor and shine to say “we mean it”.

    If it does just that, then they’re worth it. I wouldn’t like to see my two Sons have more tours in the Ghan with SOTG

    But then again, that’s a different type of war isn’t it that’s getting on nearly 11 years old? B-1Bs, AC-130Us and AH-60Ds rule(that’s by personal experience of my sons. Beagles, F/A-18Cs and F-16Cs are just bomb trucks and show of force aircraft when a gun is needed.

    Best
    Gordon Birkett
    ADFSerials.com.au

  • Peter

    says:

    William – I do have an idea. In the past I’ve came up with an answer for the realistic 5th Gen alternatives to the F-35 such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, SAAB JAS-39 Gripen, Super Hornet and F-16, to that except for the advanced F-15 or Su-30 series or PAK-FA.

    I had a good look at those aircraft (Typhoon, Rafale, SAAB Gripen, Super Hornet and F-16), the results I’ve found out before they are not the right aircraft for this nation. The reason why is because.

    F/A-18E/F Block II Super Hornet: With its much vaunted APG-79 AESA radar. The Su-35BM/Su-35-1 outperforms it on all cardinal parameters, including radar range, but excluding the somewhat academic measure of clean radar signature – academic since in combat external stores must be carried by both fighters.

    Lockheed’s F-16E/F Block 60 subtype: With AESA and conformal fuel tanks is not competitive against the Su-35BM/Su-35-1 on any parameters, the Sukhoi cleanly outclasses it across the board.

    SAAB Gripen: Share’s many qualities with the F-16, but it is not competitive against the Su-35BM/Su-35-1 on any parameters, the Sukhoi cleanly outclasses the Gripen across the board.

    Eurofighter Typhoon: With AMSAR will compete with the Su-35BM/Su-35-1 in terms of close combat agility and dash speed, but it does not have a decisive advantage in systems and sensors and cannot match the radar range of the Irbis E, and will not match a supercruise engine equipped Flanker.

    Dassault Rafale: Share’s many qualities with the Typhoon, but is smaller, and much the same comparisons apply to the Su-35BM/Su-35-1.

    In fact William, I’ll certainly like to see our nation purchase the advanced F-15 or Su-30 series to replace the legacy F/A-18A/B Hornets. If the RAAF had implemented some of my ideas, we would have the 747 for a tanker, the now- updated 1960′s vintage F-111 would be still in service flying alongside the F-22. Those were request for proposals for the AIR-6000 program, until around 1998 the F-22 is not for export and now the production line has been ceased.

    @ Sam – It wouln’t matter if I copy or paste the same info what’s put above. If I were Dr Kopp or Peter Goon for example, I would be saying the samething about those characteristics etc.

  • Peter

    says:

    William & Sam

    You guys are still around?

    There is another guy I agree with the statement, the WWW Submission: 4. Air Force/Air Power. Sent on Monday, 4th August 2008 to the Defence White Paper.

    I’m not sure who he is, which probably remains anonymous.

    I’ll put some of the description whats been sent.

    “Because of Australia’s land mass, a large twin engine fighter is the practical choice for Australia’s needs, and basing them in locations around Australia which would provide protection and cover for most or all of Australia’s coastline, with a practical 30 minute response to almost any location on our coast”.

    “This would mean a fighter capable of Mach 2.5, like the F-22 or the F-15. The F-15, even today, when Australia builds new Eagles on licence from Boeing, can provide a massive amount of capability compared to the lightweight Hornets. The F-15s can be based at 3 locations in Western Australia which currently has no fighters based here and can be based on average of 2 locations per state. With a requirement for around 200-210 airframes, and with around 1500 Air to air missiles and 2000 bombs, Australia will be comprehensively set up for a secure Air shield. Even the Sukhois which now outpace the Hornets will now be matched by the aquisition of the Eagle”.

    “The F-35 JSF is a single engine fighter but is not as practical as a large twin engine fighter. New Zealand, Singapore, Korea and Japan would be ideal locations for a single engine fighter. All of those countries have the F-15 except for New Zealand which chose to disregard its Air Force and now is unable to even shoot down airliners if terrorists gain control of the cockpit. Considering the countries in Asia who we are strong friends with have bought the F-15, says a lot for this superiority fighter aircraft”.

    If you want to find out more information go to Australian Government, Department of Defence search engine type in Submission: Air Force/Air Power PDF file and then you’ll get the idea.

    The new built “F-15AU” on licence from Boeing, can provide a massive amount of capability and should incorporate new upgrades for the advanced Eagles such as:

    1. APG-82 AESA fire control radar.

    2. 2D or 3D thrust vectoring supercruising F100-PW-232 or F110-GE-132 engines as a consideration.

    3. DEWS (Digital Electronic Warfare System) or defensible EWSP jammers.

    4. NG (Next Generation) 3-D touch screen cockpit display.

    5. Digital fly-by-wire flight control system.

    6. IRST sensor pod (either located next to the windshield or below the port air intake) and CFB (Conformal Weapons Bays) etc.

    Cheers

  • Toby

    says:

    The F15SE seems to be the only other ‘new gen’ aircraft available for Australia. The F-35 being the only aircraft available for Australia that is classed as 5th Gen. What you’ve all missed out on here are the politics of the Arms Market. Lockheed Martin now unfortunately has a monopoly over the western fighter market. Lockheed Martin are making amazing amounts of money through this program because no one else is offering a competitor – because no one else is able to. There is no competition, this isn’t a Skunkworks aircraft, this is not an aircraft designed to destroy an enemy or rival the new fighters of the Soviet’s in which Lockheed once did. This is an aircraft designed to make money. This is what you get when you have marketing in charge instead of engineers or pilots. Lockheed can do what they want because there’s no one else left. Lockheed are able do this because the world has changed. There’s a reason why there’s only 11 B-2s, there’s a reason why there’s only 195 F-22s – because someone stopped becoming a threat in 1991. If we want what the F-35 should’ve been, a lot has to change first. There was a big red reason behind the great aircraft of the late 20th century but it’s not there anymore, the only motivation now is money.

    Just a thought.

  • BH

    says:

    I think we have to be realistic here. Every country has a wish list and an imaginary budget with which to purchase everything on that list. The reality is however, there are limits. For example, the US could only afford a fleet of 20 odd B2s while I’m sure they wanted more. Also look at the cost factor of operating such a small fleet of one type.
    Australia isnt large country when you look at our population or economy. We have trouble enough maintaining the defence force we have. All credit should go to the defence force for what they are able to do with what they’ve got. But 200 plus F15s…?? We have trouble maintaining a fighter force of 100 airframes now and that is just taking in account keeping and training enough pilots.
    All this aside, Australia is not an asian nation that directly boarders a large power like China or India, we have distance on our side and the fact that why would anyone want to go to the trouble of attacking Australia. If we enter another conflict in SE Asia it will be ad part of a coalition as we couldn’t go it alone given that we’re just not a large enough power/force.
    In the days when e bought the F111s the region was a more unstable place amongst the smaller countries. They provided us with the necessary reach to influence them and keep them under control. Those days are gone and sadly so is the Pig. The cost of making this viable again and turning them into a modern B1 style platform would be enormous and only for a small fleet…
    An F22 and modernised F111 force would be very potent but the want versus need even before you add cost

  • BH

    says:

    Just isn’t viable.

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