Close sidebar

F-35 performance specs lowered

written by australianaviation.com.au | January 15, 2013
A file image of JSF development aircraft F-35A AF-6 over Edwards AFB.

A new report by the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation has detailed the United States Department of Defense’s intent to lower the performance requirements for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, across all three variants. The lowered specifications concern the transconic acceleration and sustained turn rates.

While the F-35C CV carrier variant will see the biggest performance adjustment, the F-35A CTOL will also see changes. “The program announced an intention to change performance specifications for the F-35A, reducing turn performance from 5.3 to 4.6 sustained g’s and extending the time for acceleration from 0.8 Mach to 1.2 Mach by eight seconds. These changes were due to the results of air vehicle performance and flying qualities evaluations,” the report reads.

The report also noted problems with horizontal tail surfaces “experiencing higher than expected temperatures during sustained high-speed/high-altitude flight, resulting in delamination and scorching of the surface coatings and structure.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

Concerns affecting all three variants also included the Helmet-Mounted Sight and Display’s (HMSD) ongoing problems with night vision acuity (although image latency is now within acceptable limits) and software delivery to flight test was “behind schedule or not complete when delivered.”

According to the DOT&E report, 20 per cent of Block 1 software has yet to be integrated and delivered to flight test, Block 2A was delivered four months late and in eight subsequent versions less than 50 per cent of planned capability has been delivered to production, and Block 2B was only 10 per cent complete despite being planned for delivery to flight test by the end of 2012.

The report also notes a problem with the F-35A’s air refueling system: “Delayed disconnects during air refueling required the program to implement restrictions on the F-35A fleet and conduct additional testing of the air refueling capability. The program added instrumentation to isolate root causes.”

Lockheed Martin was quick to respond to the report, releasing a statement saying the program was demonstrating exceptional stability, particularly in comparison to legacy aircraft development programs.

PROMOTED CONTENT

“Flight test is an excellent example of our continuing program performance. As is done in every engineering development program, we have test objectives planned against a program schedule. Each year, as issues are discovered in test, our flight test team identifies additional test objectives that can be accomplished while we resolve the issues discovered. However, it’s more important to look at the overall plan rather than year by year totals.  Through Nov. 30, we completed 20,006 test points against a plan of 19,134, approximately one-third of the overall test plan. While we remain diligent to ensure deferred test objectives are ultimately completed, the aggregate plan remains on track and is consistent with the TBR plan. We’ll use this similar practice in 2013,” the statement read.

“Further, similar and effective progress is being made across software development, structural test, and equipment qualification per the TBR plan.

“From an Operational Test and Evaluation perspective, we fully expect to deliver a qualified product to OT&E as scheduled. We appreciate the feedback from the OT&E community on what remains to be demonstrated over the next three years leading up to the OT&E phase of the program.”

However, the report from DOT&E also noted that progress against planned baseline test points for 2012 lagged by more than 30 per cent due to aircraft operating limitations, higher than expected loads on the weapon bay doors, and deficiencies in the air-refueling system, which reduced testing opportunities.

25% off starts now! Australian Aviation magazine Cyber Monday sale is now live. Have the very best of Australian Aviation’s annual print and digital subscription. This includes every In Focus and Behind the Lens digital magazine, special coverage, exclusive photos and editions you may have miss. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

53 Comments

  • Anon

    says:

    Oh good, Peter’s back!

  • Dee

    says:

    Peter, Peter, Peter; We do love the Su’s etc., from the Soviets, but for our area, don’t you think that PILOT experience is more important than PLATFORM performance ? I’ll back an Aussie F-18 classic against say a Malaysian Russkie top shelf Mig any day, due to the “jockey” behind the wheel !!!!!!

  • Raymond

    says:

    Anon (and anyone else for that matter) – DON’T respond to him, PLEASE!!

    The last F-35 forum on AA was closed off because of this…

  • Dee

    says:

    Peter, I think you will find that the major advantage in air combat is not the platform, but the experience of the pilot, and the quality of the munitions, plus the reliability of back-up refuelling and AWACS, something Australia has compared to our nearest threats.

  • Darren

    says:

    I’m sure they will sort these issue out, however it is a concern that we are moving the specs. After all the computer design and simulation we are still discovering issues in flight test that affect performance. It might make good commercial sense to enter production while still testing but with such a complex aircraft I wonder about the wisdom here. Does this also mean they will continue to alter the performace to match the aircraft or work to correct it? Will this bring another re-schedule to testing and thus delay IOC?

  • Shane

    says:

    I’m not here to knock the F-35, but let me say, I’m not a fan. BUT, this to me looks like the DoD is protecting all the design flaws. It can’t achieve this or that, ok, lets lower the specs.

    When it reaches Operational Status they can say it meets all requirements.

    I suppose it will save them billions in the end. The yanks need every cent!

  • Ron

    says:

    I’d love to knock the F-35 but I’ll restain myself. But let me get this straight – the plane doesn’t perform to the specifications they wanted, so they officially change the specifications of the plane they want to match the plane they have? Holy crap. I guess that way they can go to Congress & say, “yep, it matches the specs perfectly, please keep funding it.” Talk about a con job.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Dee – take a look at previous F-35 relevant forums on this site involving ‘Peter’ and you will understand what I am talking about… you simply cannot reason with him, and AA has had to take action against him because of debates descending into outright abuse.

    Now, back on topic…

    I am fairly certain that even with lowering the specs here, the F-35 will still be supremely capable. After all, it is the overall capability and performance of the jet at the end of the day that matters, and it will likely still achieve a high kill ratio (as has been modelled and promised in classified briefings). We need to remember to look at the ‘big picture’. Perhaps the bar was set too optimistically high in the first place…

    Does anyone really, seriously believe that the Government would invest ~$16b and the RAAF place its trust in this jet for many, many years to come if it wasn’t the machine it was ‘cracked up to be’?

    Cheers,
    Raymond

  • Dan

    says:

    @ Raymond-Does anyone really, seriously believe that the Government would invest ~$16b and the RAAF place its trust in this jet for many, many years to come if it wasn’t the machine it was ‘cracked up to be’?

    What about the MRH-90, ARH Tiger, Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite, collins class submarines and ect?
    C-17, M1A1Abrams and Super Hornet is the only real success. Now all Australia needs now is to ditch F 35 for a different Aircraft and install THADD around Australia and learn not to buy Aircraft that is still on paper.

  • Air Observer

    says:

    I just think this is a totally new plane with a totally new set of tactics. When operated in small groups (as it is intended to be used rather than on its own) it will be an incredible capability. Its impact will be comparable to the introduction of the Phantom II in terms of what it will bring to the table.

  • Air Observer

    says:

    @Dan
    The C17’s path to production made the F35’s look smooth. Once in service the stats will creep the other way. The C17 was downgraded in terms of op specs and once into the production path doubled its range and capacity. These things happen, not least of all for an aircraft expected to do everything. The inevitable F22B upgrade will borrow heavily from its younger sibling. I have said this often, I remember the F111 being derided across the board and arriving very late after numerous problems and well… we all know that story ended with the pig being extremely successful and unsurpassed in many of its capabilities.

  • Dan

    says:

    @ Air Observer, The F 35 was already downgraded in terms of op specs for Australia to begin with and now this!. For a Aircraft that we still don’t know what the true cost is going to be and specs of the Aircraft from Lockheed Martin per unit and also not to mention considering America is 17 Trillion dollars in debt, I really think this aircraft is not a good idea . I’m so sick and tired of hearing this Aircraft is a-could be, might be, seems to be, very affordable, offers to be, best to be and so on. In fact, I’ve herd this for almost 10 years now and I personally think it’s time to get a new sheet of paper and just start again.

    The F 111 had so many air crashes and so many maintenance personnel came down with cancer sickness. The F 111 was never used in combat. 2003 Iraq-Australia sent F/A 18s into combat and no F-111s.

  • Tomcat Terry

    says:

    @ Dan. Take a Valium son. When I was in the RAAF for 20 years starting in the mid 60’s, the same comments and fears were raised. Everyone hated the idea that we had to wait for our new F111s by leasing the F4 but in the end, as Dee and Raymond have pointed out, it’s not all about equipment, thats 10%. Its the 90% of personnel skill that makes a great fighting force. It was in those days, today in my sons case fighting overseas and definitely will be in the future.
    Yes, that Peter character is a funny fellow. Best to avoid that one.

  • Tomcat Terry

    says:

    @ Dan. Take a Valium son. When I was in the RAAF for 20 years starting in the mid 60’s, the same comments and fears were raised. Everyone hated the idea that we had to wait for our new F111s by leasing the F4 but in the end, as Dee and Raymond have pointed out, it’s not all about equipment, thats 10%. Its the 90% of personnel skill that makes a great fighting force. It was in those days, today in my sons case fighting overseas and definitely will be in the future. Yes, that Peter character is a funny fellow. Best to avoid that one.

  • Allan

    says:

    Hey Guys, Good news by the time the F-35 enters service it will be due for it`s mid life update. The reason i say this is because as we all know after 10 tears service the operating services look at how they can improve the capability of their platforms. So if we wait for the testing period to finish then we roll over straight into the midlife update period. Gee more value for our dollars!!!!!!!

  • Air Observer

    says:

    @Dan The F111 was a deterrent and for good reason. It simply had its day when the Hornet arrived when the clutter resistant radar easily picking out the F111 at low level. The pig could no longer hunt with its nose in the weeds. Things change. The F35 is and will be our new aircraft. What this aircraft “could be” will emerge in the next 18 months as the tactics develop around it. I doubt it will disappoint.

  • Chris

    says:

    The F-35 will be excellent in theory once it’s fully operational. HMDS, VLO, sensor fusion and networking will make it into a real BVR monster.

    Sure, it’s pure manoeuvre performance may be at around F/A-18C levels, but that’s hardly poor.

  • Peter

    says:

    Air Observer

    The F-111 was a deterrent and for bad reason. It simply NOT had its day when the F/A-18 arrived when the clutter resistant radar easily picking out the F-111 at low level. The pig could still hunt with its nose in the weeds. So what things have changed. The F-35 is and will be a wrong aircraft for our requirements.

  • Air Observer

    says:

    Time will tell my friend.

  • Raymond

    says:

    A certain somebody seems to think they know better and are a lot wiser than all of the following combined: the US Government and the USAF, the USN and the USMC; the UK Government and the RAF and the RN; the Australian Government and the RAAF; as well as the governments and their respective air forces of Canada, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Israel and Japan (so far).

    Access to classified information, specifications and briefings? Somehow I think not.

  • Allan

    says:

    Wholeheartedly agree Raymond

  • kikl

    says:

    “The program announced an intention to change performance specifications for the F-35A, reducing turn performance from 5.3 to 4.6 sustained g’s and extending the time for acceleration from 0.8 Mach to 1.2 Mach by eight seconds.”

    That’s embarracing if you consider that a typhoon can sustain 9 g’s permanently and it’s not even a “fifth generation” aircraft ! 😉 If America doesn’t dump this lead sled then she will lose lots of pilots against formidable enemies like china.

  • Anon

    says:

    “Typhoon can sustain 9G permanently…”?

    Are you sure? Try again…

  • Peter

    says:

    “Access to classified information, specifications and briefings”? Well Raymond, somehow my colleagues, friends myself and acquaintances have accessed it from the defence industry and we certainly know better and we are certainly a lot wiser than all of the following you conbined: the US Government and the USAF, the USN and the USMC; the UK Government and the RAF and the RN; the Australian Government and the RAAF; as well as the governments and their respective air forces of Canada, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Israel and Japan (so far).

  • Peter

    says:

    Again my colleagues, my friends, myself and acquaintances have accessed classified information, specifications and briefings about this lead sled F-35 and F/A-18E/F/EA-18G and I’ve told you before both the aircraft are not up to the job for the anti-access changed threat environment etc etc.

  • jimmy latsos

    says:

    When will the fiasco end with this expensive turkey? Don’t get me wrong ,a 5th generation fighter is needed for future wars and the f35 electronics are {at least on paper} impressive, it is the airframe/single engine/single engine maker/lack of range/limited weapons and limited peformance that makes me shake my head .Do you think the chinese {and Russians} are shaking in there boots about the f35?

  • Al

    says:

    Dee, Tomcat Terry et al

    Try selling that tale to the Spanish when they were shot out of the air in 1936 or the Poles when they suffered the same fate in 1939 or the Germans in 1940 when Adolf Galland asked Goering for ‘an outfit of Spitfires for my group.’

    “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

    Best you stop believing in your own propaganda, take off your rose coloured glasses and take another look at the role your taxpayers expext you to perform. There is no such thing as a friendly Nation, only ones that are less hostile than others.

    As to the F35, I object to tipping billions of dollars into an unproven project to prop up a failing foreign national economy.

    As to the F111, it was time for it to go, BUT, it should have been replaced with a six B1 Lancers.

  • Anon

    says:

    Peter, AGAIN, please tell us what PRIMARY SOURCES you have…not “colleagues, friends, myself (really, yourself???) and acquaintances”!

    Are you saying you have access to “classified” information from defence industry? APA doesn’t count as “industry” or as a primary source.

    ‘Those who know, don’t say. Those who say, don’t know!’

  • Raymond

    says:

    Anon – he doesn’t have, and there’s no point even replying to him. He has had ample opportunity to in many other forums on this site, and all he can provide is rhetoric.

    The simple facts and the bottom line here is, there is no way he or his ‘colleagues, friends and acquaintances’ have access to the classified information, specifications and briefings provided to governments and air forces around the globe, and the 11 nations (so far) I mentioned a few comments back are ‘first world’ countries that wouldn’t pick an aircraft that wasn’t going to be a winner. They will be relying on this aircraft to provide their primary air combat needs for decades to come.

    Ask yourself, who do you find more likely to be credible and who are you more likely to believe? Do you really think all of these countries’ forces are deluded? Yes, cutting-edge programs nearly always will have troubles and teething issues, and the F-35 certainly has had. But we need to look at the ‘big picture’ and also know that in the end, this will be a formidable machine. Give it upgrades and it will be even better, possibly back up to its original specifications and requirements.

    Cheers,
    Raymond

  • Dan

    says:

    @ Terry

    Mate, the F-111 was a failure to Australia, it never got used in combat in Iraq and Afghanista., We have lost 9 F-111s due to malfunction (Although the F 111 has two engines), and a wide variety of cancer cases with maintenance crew and you never mention not one of these many factors in your reply to me.

    Terry, that is not a success story.

    A major real success story is the Super Hornet, Although Silient Eagle would be nice and more coin, but still under development.

    As for the F-35 which keeps getting downgraded all the time from its original specs and a unknown price tag I really need to ask you this one question? If Lockheed Martin was to downgrade the specs AGAIN! on this aircraft in 6 monthes time, would you still think this is a good Aircraft?

    I think get more Super Hornets and check out UAV’s or Taranis for our future and install THADD installations around OZ for Aircraft and ICBMS.

    I was once a supporter for F 35 but after reading this article- Not anymore!

  • Dan

    says:

    @ Peter

    The F/A-18/F/ and the up coming EA-18G Hornet is a excellent selection from the RAAF. Alot more better compared to the F 111s, (Not to mention the amount of casualties we had from these F 111 aircraft and the saddest part is nobody even mention the amount of lives lost from the F 111s except for saying how much of a great plane it was ).

    Although, it would be nice to see SE-F15 but still under development and 100 Million a piece in 09 dollars.

  • Air Observer

    says:

    In all fairness the pig was built in a period when all aircraft types suffered high accident rates and everything but baby spoons contained asbestos or some other nasty. No the F111 never saw combat, but neither have other types. I’m glad they were there, and given the make up and balance of power at the time, they most certainly gave our neighbours pause for thought. Hopefully we will never need to use their replacement either, but I will still see it as money well spent.

  • Al

    says:

    @Raymond

    “the 11 nations (so far) I mentioned a few comments back are ‘first world’ countries that wouldn’t pick an aircraft that wasn’t going to be a winner.”

    Really?

    Have a look at those 11 Nations and then look at the calibre of their issued service rifle. When you have done that conduct a search on the internet about the combat effectiveness – or more specifically the lack there of – of the 5.56 x 45mm round. You will find more than one article and if you look far enough you will even find articles from the US Special Forces stating they have gone outside their official procurement channels to obtain a round with greater lethality.

    Relevance you ask?

    The F35 wouldn’t be the first time the US has peddled a second rate product and strong armed NATO and other western first world countries to adopt something for its own benefit.

  • Anon

    says:

    The F-111 never saw combat…

    In that case I’d call it a great success!

  • Dane

    says:

    People seem to have a lack of understanding as to why we need the F-35. There is NO alternative 5th Gen fighter aircraft on the market that is available or as far into development/production as the F-35. The Russian and Chinese equivalent have only just seen seen their prototypes take to the air. The X-35 prototype first flew in 2000 and the YF-22 in 1990, so that tells you how far behind the times the Russians and the Chinese are.

    All those calling for the F-22 to be purchased, forget it. The US realised very quickly that it was only an air superiority fighter and nothing more. It has only started dropping air-to-ground munitions in the last few years as a means of justifying its existence. The sun has set on its production and LM probably will never reopen it.

    The EF2000, the F-15SE and F/A-18E/F are 4th Gen and loosely 4.5 Gen aircraft which are great at replacing and augmenting current fleets of fighters but aren’t a solution to our problem. The F-35 has a monopoly on the 5th Gen fighter market for the foreseeable future, and let’s be honest, the government won’t buy into UCAV or “unmanned fighters” in this half of the century.

  • Air Observer

    says:

    The scuttlebutt from the pilots is that the Lightning handles like the F18 but has performance vastly exceeding the F16 which I don’t doubt. Pilots deplore politics. It might not be Bradman but it is Ponting. A great all rounder. The F35 syncs with the US air system in a vastly different way to Australia. With the Growler, C17, KC30A, Rhino, SuperHercyBird, and finally, thank the gods!… a battlefield airlifter we will have a nifty set of force multipliers… if we get the tactics right.

  • Jet

    says:

    Welcome new super hornets….. F-35 is having issues, just fill that gap with some super hornets and get less F-35’s… Simple!
    The RAAF won’t get F22 or F15 etc…. It’s pointless when we have a distinct fighter group and it’s working so, my money’s on more rhinos and possibly filling amberley or interchanging at williamtown with some classics

  • Anon

    says:

    Umm…Ponting isn’t an all-rounder. He’s a specialist batsman.

    Just saying…

  • Air Observer

    says:

    He can bat, bowl or field is my point. Sorry to stoop to cricket anologies mate! It inspires more debate than the F35.

  • Peter

    says:

    I reckon all of you people seem to have a lack of understanding as to why the F-35 is a failure and wrong aircraft for RAAF’s requirements.

    “Modernising our aging … fighter force depends on the fifth generation capabilities of the Joint Strike Fighter”. “Simply put, there is no alternative to the F-35 program. It must succeed.”

    1. You can’t maintain air superiority with the F-35 vs. emerging threats.
    2. Which means you can not “hold any target at risk”.
    3. The F-35 has no credible “fifth-generation capabilities”; except maybe in the eyes of the thana marketing pukes.
    4. The idea that there are no alternatives to the F-35 (for the USAF and other countries) is completely untrue folks.
    5. “It must succeed”. Hitler was famous for statements similar to this when the German Army was getting torn to shreds; ignoring the concept that the enemy has a will of their own.

    @ Dan – The F/A-18F and the up coming EA-18G Growler is a very poor selection from the RAAF. They are absolutely no better compared to the F-111s.

  • Peter

    says:

    @ Anon

    “Are you saying you have access to “classified” information from defence industry”?

    Yes I did get access to the classifed information about the F-35 from the defence industry, which you know I work for them. I won’t go into all specific details, but I can tell you Anon all the information I found both the F-35/Super Hornet are not the correct aircraft to fulfill the needs.

    ‘Those who know, don’t say. Those who say, don’t know!’ propaganda 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 F-35, 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.

    You folks including the Australian Aviation need to expand a lot more on the other side of the story about why can’t the F-35/Super Hornet/Growler can’t cut it on the modern battlefield, rather than narrowly focusing on the aircraft manufactures, RAAF, and the Federal Government that are telling you how good/suitable the F-35/Super Hornet/Growler is, affordable, maintanable etc etc.

    Cheers

  • Peter

    says:

    Folks

    The F-35 is now a failed project in any measure of its existing program management behavior. Well, yet some think faith-based weapons procurement has a future. It should now be considered a non-solution for the RAAF.

  • Mark

    says:

    Hi all,

    Just to put a different prospective on things.Its pointless arguing weather or not the F-35 is a viable aircraft the US have no choice but to build because for 1 there are no other option 2 they have already spent to much money getting to this stage 3 they cant afford to buy any more F-22 4 if we were to buy Soviet, the political fallout between Australia and the US would be to heavy and besides to refit the aircraft out with western technology and engines would make it to expensive etc etc.Even the former Australian air force commander has said the F-35 is hopeless in all respects but yes unfortunately we will still buy purely for political reasons.

  • Dave

    says:

    If it weren’t for the grammar I’d say ‘Peter’ is 14-years-old. However, whoever he is all this ‘I-know-secret-stuff-and -you-don’t’ rubbish is so infantile that I just want to smack him in the forehead with a large spoon.

  • Anon

    says:

    “Even the former Australian air force commander has said the F-35 is hopeless in all respects …”

    Who said that mark? Can you cite a source?

    Peter…nah, just not worth it…

  • Rookie

    says:

    im kind of in a 50/50 position on this one. they seem to be going down similar issues they made with the F-4 phantom at first, relying on new technology rather than raw ability….if the technology works then well yes i think they will have a good platform…but if it doesnt then nato/western air forces are going to be up SH*T creek……

  • Raymond

    says:

    *Alert! Alert!*

    AA: we have the beginnings of another episode of abuse involving you-know-who…

  • Terry

    says:

    In “Time magazine in February 2013 it was revealed, for the first time, that Marine pilots are not allowed to perform a vertical landing- the maneuver being deemed too dangerous, it is reserved only for Lockheed test pilots.”
    F35 B yet another lockheed late delivery lemon.

    Thankfully at last Australia may not be committed to buy the first dud F35As off the very slow production line. Best option is to delay the purchase and wait for the aircraft to meet decent specs like all other normal major defence purchases. do not buy the first run of anything, they will be the duds.

    Maybe in a few years when they get it right, we should consider a purchase of a couple of dozen F35B for power projection in the pacific pond on our new mini aircraft carriers.

  • Terry

    says:

    It continues, another grounding of all variants, cracked turbine blades. The current 55 planes may go on sale as factory seconds soon.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Terry – I have confidence that the F-35 will be a winner in the end. There will always be developmental issues to iron out with complex programs such as this. While not good, just remember that the engine blade crack is a P&W issue, not an F-35 issue with the aircraft itself. And don’t forget that there hasn’t been a catastrophic loss of an F-35 as yet with hundreds of hours already flown; many other developmental aircraft had suffered airframe losses by now.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Sorry, it’s actually nearly 5,900 flight hours in total…

  • Terry

    says:

    Development issues are normal so do not buy the first planes off the production line. Delay any purchase until the plane can be reliable. If you pass all the easy flight tests first does not mean the aircraft is OK. It means it can fly and now that is even in doubt. It does not mean it can do the job required by Australia.
    Do not buy this dud until it is a proven aircraft and then only buy a few for our new “aircraft carriers”. Build a fleet of F/A 18 Es and Fs and wait for a final tested capable production aircraft, before making any commitment. Then only buy buy if they cost less than $50m per copy. $130m plus is a crazy price for a fat slow day 2 or 3 aircraft.
    The F35 may one day be useful, but not yet give it at least 5 years to finish development and stabilise production and price.

Comments are closed.

F-35 performance specs lowered

written by australianaviation.com.au | January 15, 2013
A file image of JSF development aircraft F-35A AF-6 over Edwards AFB.

A new report by the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation has detailed the United States Department of Defense’s intent to lower the performance requirements for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, across all three variants. The lowered specifications concern the transconic acceleration and sustained turn rates.

While the F-35C CV carrier variant will see the biggest performance adjustment, the F-35A CTOL will also see changes. “The program announced an intention to change performance specifications for the F-35A, reducing turn performance from 5.3 to 4.6 sustained g’s and extending the time for acceleration from 0.8 Mach to 1.2 Mach by eight seconds. These changes were due to the results of air vehicle performance and flying qualities evaluations,” the report reads.

The report also noted problems with horizontal tail surfaces “experiencing higher than expected temperatures during sustained high-speed/high-altitude flight, resulting in delamination and scorching of the surface coatings and structure.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

Concerns affecting all three variants also included the Helmet-Mounted Sight and Display’s (HMSD) ongoing problems with night vision acuity (although image latency is now within acceptable limits) and software delivery to flight test was “behind schedule or not complete when delivered.”

According to the DOT&E report, 20 per cent of Block 1 software has yet to be integrated and delivered to flight test, Block 2A was delivered four months late and in eight subsequent versions less than 50 per cent of planned capability has been delivered to production, and Block 2B was only 10 per cent complete despite being planned for delivery to flight test by the end of 2012.

The report also notes a problem with the F-35A’s air refueling system: “Delayed disconnects during air refueling required the program to implement restrictions on the F-35A fleet and conduct additional testing of the air refueling capability. The program added instrumentation to isolate root causes.”

Lockheed Martin was quick to respond to the report, releasing a statement saying the program was demonstrating exceptional stability, particularly in comparison to legacy aircraft development programs.

PROMOTED CONTENT

“Flight test is an excellent example of our continuing program performance. As is done in every engineering development program, we have test objectives planned against a program schedule. Each year, as issues are discovered in test, our flight test team identifies additional test objectives that can be accomplished while we resolve the issues discovered. However, it’s more important to look at the overall plan rather than year by year totals.  Through Nov. 30, we completed 20,006 test points against a plan of 19,134, approximately one-third of the overall test plan. While we remain diligent to ensure deferred test objectives are ultimately completed, the aggregate plan remains on track and is consistent with the TBR plan. We’ll use this similar practice in 2013,” the statement read.

“Further, similar and effective progress is being made across software development, structural test, and equipment qualification per the TBR plan.

“From an Operational Test and Evaluation perspective, we fully expect to deliver a qualified product to OT&E as scheduled. We appreciate the feedback from the OT&E community on what remains to be demonstrated over the next three years leading up to the OT&E phase of the program.”

However, the report from DOT&E also noted that progress against planned baseline test points for 2012 lagged by more than 30 per cent due to aircraft operating limitations, higher than expected loads on the weapon bay doors, and deficiencies in the air-refueling system, which reduced testing opportunities.

25% off starts now! Australian Aviation magazine Cyber Monday sale is now live. Have the very best of Australian Aviation’s annual print and digital subscription. This includes every In Focus and Behind the Lens digital magazine, special coverage, exclusive photos and editions you may have miss. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

53 Comments

  • Anon

    says:

    Oh good, Peter’s back!

  • Dee

    says:

    Peter, Peter, Peter; We do love the Su’s etc., from the Soviets, but for our area, don’t you think that PILOT experience is more important than PLATFORM performance ? I’ll back an Aussie F-18 classic against say a Malaysian Russkie top shelf Mig any day, due to the “jockey” behind the wheel !!!!!!

  • Raymond

    says:

    Anon (and anyone else for that matter) – DON’T respond to him, PLEASE!!

    The last F-35 forum on AA was closed off because of this…

  • Dee

    says:

    Peter, I think you will find that the major advantage in air combat is not the platform, but the experience of the pilot, and the quality of the munitions, plus the reliability of back-up refuelling and AWACS, something Australia has compared to our nearest threats.

  • Darren

    says:

    I’m sure they will sort these issue out, however it is a concern that we are moving the specs. After all the computer design and simulation we are still discovering issues in flight test that affect performance. It might make good commercial sense to enter production while still testing but with such a complex aircraft I wonder about the wisdom here. Does this also mean they will continue to alter the performace to match the aircraft or work to correct it? Will this bring another re-schedule to testing and thus delay IOC?

  • Shane

    says:

    I’m not here to knock the F-35, but let me say, I’m not a fan. BUT, this to me looks like the DoD is protecting all the design flaws. It can’t achieve this or that, ok, lets lower the specs.

    When it reaches Operational Status they can say it meets all requirements.

    I suppose it will save them billions in the end. The yanks need every cent!

  • Ron

    says:

    I’d love to knock the F-35 but I’ll restain myself. But let me get this straight – the plane doesn’t perform to the specifications they wanted, so they officially change the specifications of the plane they want to match the plane they have? Holy crap. I guess that way they can go to Congress & say, “yep, it matches the specs perfectly, please keep funding it.” Talk about a con job.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Dee – take a look at previous F-35 relevant forums on this site involving ‘Peter’ and you will understand what I am talking about… you simply cannot reason with him, and AA has had to take action against him because of debates descending into outright abuse.

    Now, back on topic…

    I am fairly certain that even with lowering the specs here, the F-35 will still be supremely capable. After all, it is the overall capability and performance of the jet at the end of the day that matters, and it will likely still achieve a high kill ratio (as has been modelled and promised in classified briefings). We need to remember to look at the ‘big picture’. Perhaps the bar was set too optimistically high in the first place…

    Does anyone really, seriously believe that the Government would invest ~$16b and the RAAF place its trust in this jet for many, many years to come if it wasn’t the machine it was ‘cracked up to be’?

    Cheers,
    Raymond

  • Dan

    says:

    @ Raymond-Does anyone really, seriously believe that the Government would invest ~$16b and the RAAF place its trust in this jet for many, many years to come if it wasn’t the machine it was ‘cracked up to be’?

    What about the MRH-90, ARH Tiger, Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite, collins class submarines and ect?
    C-17, M1A1Abrams and Super Hornet is the only real success. Now all Australia needs now is to ditch F 35 for a different Aircraft and install THADD around Australia and learn not to buy Aircraft that is still on paper.

  • Air Observer

    says:

    I just think this is a totally new plane with a totally new set of tactics. When operated in small groups (as it is intended to be used rather than on its own) it will be an incredible capability. Its impact will be comparable to the introduction of the Phantom II in terms of what it will bring to the table.

  • Air Observer

    says:

    @Dan
    The C17’s path to production made the F35’s look smooth. Once in service the stats will creep the other way. The C17 was downgraded in terms of op specs and once into the production path doubled its range and capacity. These things happen, not least of all for an aircraft expected to do everything. The inevitable F22B upgrade will borrow heavily from its younger sibling. I have said this often, I remember the F111 being derided across the board and arriving very late after numerous problems and well… we all know that story ended with the pig being extremely successful and unsurpassed in many of its capabilities.

  • Dan

    says:

    @ Air Observer, The F 35 was already downgraded in terms of op specs for Australia to begin with and now this!. For a Aircraft that we still don’t know what the true cost is going to be and specs of the Aircraft from Lockheed Martin per unit and also not to mention considering America is 17 Trillion dollars in debt, I really think this aircraft is not a good idea . I’m so sick and tired of hearing this Aircraft is a-could be, might be, seems to be, very affordable, offers to be, best to be and so on. In fact, I’ve herd this for almost 10 years now and I personally think it’s time to get a new sheet of paper and just start again.

    The F 111 had so many air crashes and so many maintenance personnel came down with cancer sickness. The F 111 was never used in combat. 2003 Iraq-Australia sent F/A 18s into combat and no F-111s.

  • Tomcat Terry

    says:

    @ Dan. Take a Valium son. When I was in the RAAF for 20 years starting in the mid 60’s, the same comments and fears were raised. Everyone hated the idea that we had to wait for our new F111s by leasing the F4 but in the end, as Dee and Raymond have pointed out, it’s not all about equipment, thats 10%. Its the 90% of personnel skill that makes a great fighting force. It was in those days, today in my sons case fighting overseas and definitely will be in the future.
    Yes, that Peter character is a funny fellow. Best to avoid that one.

  • Tomcat Terry

    says:

    @ Dan. Take a Valium son. When I was in the RAAF for 20 years starting in the mid 60’s, the same comments and fears were raised. Everyone hated the idea that we had to wait for our new F111s by leasing the F4 but in the end, as Dee and Raymond have pointed out, it’s not all about equipment, thats 10%. Its the 90% of personnel skill that makes a great fighting force. It was in those days, today in my sons case fighting overseas and definitely will be in the future. Yes, that Peter character is a funny fellow. Best to avoid that one.

  • Allan

    says:

    Hey Guys, Good news by the time the F-35 enters service it will be due for it`s mid life update. The reason i say this is because as we all know after 10 tears service the operating services look at how they can improve the capability of their platforms. So if we wait for the testing period to finish then we roll over straight into the midlife update period. Gee more value for our dollars!!!!!!!

  • Air Observer

    says:

    @Dan The F111 was a deterrent and for good reason. It simply had its day when the Hornet arrived when the clutter resistant radar easily picking out the F111 at low level. The pig could no longer hunt with its nose in the weeds. Things change. The F35 is and will be our new aircraft. What this aircraft “could be” will emerge in the next 18 months as the tactics develop around it. I doubt it will disappoint.

  • Chris

    says:

    The F-35 will be excellent in theory once it’s fully operational. HMDS, VLO, sensor fusion and networking will make it into a real BVR monster.

    Sure, it’s pure manoeuvre performance may be at around F/A-18C levels, but that’s hardly poor.

  • Peter

    says:

    Air Observer

    The F-111 was a deterrent and for bad reason. It simply NOT had its day when the F/A-18 arrived when the clutter resistant radar easily picking out the F-111 at low level. The pig could still hunt with its nose in the weeds. So what things have changed. The F-35 is and will be a wrong aircraft for our requirements.

  • Air Observer

    says:

    Time will tell my friend.

  • Raymond

    says:

    A certain somebody seems to think they know better and are a lot wiser than all of the following combined: the US Government and the USAF, the USN and the USMC; the UK Government and the RAF and the RN; the Australian Government and the RAAF; as well as the governments and their respective air forces of Canada, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Israel and Japan (so far).

    Access to classified information, specifications and briefings? Somehow I think not.

  • Allan

    says:

    Wholeheartedly agree Raymond

  • kikl

    says:

    “The program announced an intention to change performance specifications for the F-35A, reducing turn performance from 5.3 to 4.6 sustained g’s and extending the time for acceleration from 0.8 Mach to 1.2 Mach by eight seconds.”

    That’s embarracing if you consider that a typhoon can sustain 9 g’s permanently and it’s not even a “fifth generation” aircraft ! 😉 If America doesn’t dump this lead sled then she will lose lots of pilots against formidable enemies like china.

  • Anon

    says:

    “Typhoon can sustain 9G permanently…”?

    Are you sure? Try again…

  • Peter

    says:

    “Access to classified information, specifications and briefings”? Well Raymond, somehow my colleagues, friends myself and acquaintances have accessed it from the defence industry and we certainly know better and we are certainly a lot wiser than all of the following you conbined: the US Government and the USAF, the USN and the USMC; the UK Government and the RAF and the RN; the Australian Government and the RAAF; as well as the governments and their respective air forces of Canada, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Israel and Japan (so far).

  • Peter

    says:

    Again my colleagues, my friends, myself and acquaintances have accessed classified information, specifications and briefings about this lead sled F-35 and F/A-18E/F/EA-18G and I’ve told you before both the aircraft are not up to the job for the anti-access changed threat environment etc etc.

  • jimmy latsos

    says:

    When will the fiasco end with this expensive turkey? Don’t get me wrong ,a 5th generation fighter is needed for future wars and the f35 electronics are {at least on paper} impressive, it is the airframe/single engine/single engine maker/lack of range/limited weapons and limited peformance that makes me shake my head .Do you think the chinese {and Russians} are shaking in there boots about the f35?

  • Al

    says:

    Dee, Tomcat Terry et al

    Try selling that tale to the Spanish when they were shot out of the air in 1936 or the Poles when they suffered the same fate in 1939 or the Germans in 1940 when Adolf Galland asked Goering for ‘an outfit of Spitfires for my group.’

    “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

    Best you stop believing in your own propaganda, take off your rose coloured glasses and take another look at the role your taxpayers expext you to perform. There is no such thing as a friendly Nation, only ones that are less hostile than others.

    As to the F35, I object to tipping billions of dollars into an unproven project to prop up a failing foreign national economy.

    As to the F111, it was time for it to go, BUT, it should have been replaced with a six B1 Lancers.

  • Anon

    says:

    Peter, AGAIN, please tell us what PRIMARY SOURCES you have…not “colleagues, friends, myself (really, yourself???) and acquaintances”!

    Are you saying you have access to “classified” information from defence industry? APA doesn’t count as “industry” or as a primary source.

    ‘Those who know, don’t say. Those who say, don’t know!’

  • Raymond

    says:

    Anon – he doesn’t have, and there’s no point even replying to him. He has had ample opportunity to in many other forums on this site, and all he can provide is rhetoric.

    The simple facts and the bottom line here is, there is no way he or his ‘colleagues, friends and acquaintances’ have access to the classified information, specifications and briefings provided to governments and air forces around the globe, and the 11 nations (so far) I mentioned a few comments back are ‘first world’ countries that wouldn’t pick an aircraft that wasn’t going to be a winner. They will be relying on this aircraft to provide their primary air combat needs for decades to come.

    Ask yourself, who do you find more likely to be credible and who are you more likely to believe? Do you really think all of these countries’ forces are deluded? Yes, cutting-edge programs nearly always will have troubles and teething issues, and the F-35 certainly has had. But we need to look at the ‘big picture’ and also know that in the end, this will be a formidable machine. Give it upgrades and it will be even better, possibly back up to its original specifications and requirements.

    Cheers,
    Raymond

  • Dan

    says:

    @ Terry

    Mate, the F-111 was a failure to Australia, it never got used in combat in Iraq and Afghanista., We have lost 9 F-111s due to malfunction (Although the F 111 has two engines), and a wide variety of cancer cases with maintenance crew and you never mention not one of these many factors in your reply to me.

    Terry, that is not a success story.

    A major real success story is the Super Hornet, Although Silient Eagle would be nice and more coin, but still under development.

    As for the F-35 which keeps getting downgraded all the time from its original specs and a unknown price tag I really need to ask you this one question? If Lockheed Martin was to downgrade the specs AGAIN! on this aircraft in 6 monthes time, would you still think this is a good Aircraft?

    I think get more Super Hornets and check out UAV’s or Taranis for our future and install THADD installations around OZ for Aircraft and ICBMS.

    I was once a supporter for F 35 but after reading this article- Not anymore!

  • Dan

    says:

    @ Peter

    The F/A-18/F/ and the up coming EA-18G Hornet is a excellent selection from the RAAF. Alot more better compared to the F 111s, (Not to mention the amount of casualties we had from these F 111 aircraft and the saddest part is nobody even mention the amount of lives lost from the F 111s except for saying how much of a great plane it was ).

    Although, it would be nice to see SE-F15 but still under development and 100 Million a piece in 09 dollars.

  • Air Observer

    says:

    In all fairness the pig was built in a period when all aircraft types suffered high accident rates and everything but baby spoons contained asbestos or some other nasty. No the F111 never saw combat, but neither have other types. I’m glad they were there, and given the make up and balance of power at the time, they most certainly gave our neighbours pause for thought. Hopefully we will never need to use their replacement either, but I will still see it as money well spent.

  • Al

    says:

    @Raymond

    “the 11 nations (so far) I mentioned a few comments back are ‘first world’ countries that wouldn’t pick an aircraft that wasn’t going to be a winner.”

    Really?

    Have a look at those 11 Nations and then look at the calibre of their issued service rifle. When you have done that conduct a search on the internet about the combat effectiveness – or more specifically the lack there of – of the 5.56 x 45mm round. You will find more than one article and if you look far enough you will even find articles from the US Special Forces stating they have gone outside their official procurement channels to obtain a round with greater lethality.

    Relevance you ask?

    The F35 wouldn’t be the first time the US has peddled a second rate product and strong armed NATO and other western first world countries to adopt something for its own benefit.

  • Anon

    says:

    The F-111 never saw combat…

    In that case I’d call it a great success!

  • Dane

    says:

    People seem to have a lack of understanding as to why we need the F-35. There is NO alternative 5th Gen fighter aircraft on the market that is available or as far into development/production as the F-35. The Russian and Chinese equivalent have only just seen seen their prototypes take to the air. The X-35 prototype first flew in 2000 and the YF-22 in 1990, so that tells you how far behind the times the Russians and the Chinese are.

    All those calling for the F-22 to be purchased, forget it. The US realised very quickly that it was only an air superiority fighter and nothing more. It has only started dropping air-to-ground munitions in the last few years as a means of justifying its existence. The sun has set on its production and LM probably will never reopen it.

    The EF2000, the F-15SE and F/A-18E/F are 4th Gen and loosely 4.5 Gen aircraft which are great at replacing and augmenting current fleets of fighters but aren’t a solution to our problem. The F-35 has a monopoly on the 5th Gen fighter market for the foreseeable future, and let’s be honest, the government won’t buy into UCAV or “unmanned fighters” in this half of the century.

  • Air Observer

    says:

    The scuttlebutt from the pilots is that the Lightning handles like the F18 but has performance vastly exceeding the F16 which I don’t doubt. Pilots deplore politics. It might not be Bradman but it is Ponting. A great all rounder. The F35 syncs with the US air system in a vastly different way to Australia. With the Growler, C17, KC30A, Rhino, SuperHercyBird, and finally, thank the gods!… a battlefield airlifter we will have a nifty set of force multipliers… if we get the tactics right.

  • Jet

    says:

    Welcome new super hornets….. F-35 is having issues, just fill that gap with some super hornets and get less F-35’s… Simple!
    The RAAF won’t get F22 or F15 etc…. It’s pointless when we have a distinct fighter group and it’s working so, my money’s on more rhinos and possibly filling amberley or interchanging at williamtown with some classics

  • Anon

    says:

    Umm…Ponting isn’t an all-rounder. He’s a specialist batsman.

    Just saying…

  • Air Observer

    says:

    He can bat, bowl or field is my point. Sorry to stoop to cricket anologies mate! It inspires more debate than the F35.

  • Peter

    says:

    I reckon all of you people seem to have a lack of understanding as to why the F-35 is a failure and wrong aircraft for RAAF’s requirements.

    “Modernising our aging … fighter force depends on the fifth generation capabilities of the Joint Strike Fighter”. “Simply put, there is no alternative to the F-35 program. It must succeed.”

    1. You can’t maintain air superiority with the F-35 vs. emerging threats.
    2. Which means you can not “hold any target at risk”.
    3. The F-35 has no credible “fifth-generation capabilities”; except maybe in the eyes of the thana marketing pukes.
    4. The idea that there are no alternatives to the F-35 (for the USAF and other countries) is completely untrue folks.
    5. “It must succeed”. Hitler was famous for statements similar to this when the German Army was getting torn to shreds; ignoring the concept that the enemy has a will of their own.

    @ Dan – The F/A-18F and the up coming EA-18G Growler is a very poor selection from the RAAF. They are absolutely no better compared to the F-111s.

  • Peter

    says:

    @ Anon

    “Are you saying you have access to “classified” information from defence industry”?

    Yes I did get access to the classifed information about the F-35 from the defence industry, which you know I work for them. I won’t go into all specific details, but I can tell you Anon all the information I found both the F-35/Super Hornet are not the correct aircraft to fulfill the needs.

    ‘Those who know, don’t say. Those who say, don’t know!’ propaganda 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 F-35, 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.

    You folks including the Australian Aviation need to expand a lot more on the other side of the story about why can’t the F-35/Super Hornet/Growler can’t cut it on the modern battlefield, rather than narrowly focusing on the aircraft manufactures, RAAF, and the Federal Government that are telling you how good/suitable the F-35/Super Hornet/Growler is, affordable, maintanable etc etc.

    Cheers

  • Peter

    says:

    Folks

    The F-35 is now a failed project in any measure of its existing program management behavior. Well, yet some think faith-based weapons procurement has a future. It should now be considered a non-solution for the RAAF.

  • Mark

    says:

    Hi all,

    Just to put a different prospective on things.Its pointless arguing weather or not the F-35 is a viable aircraft the US have no choice but to build because for 1 there are no other option 2 they have already spent to much money getting to this stage 3 they cant afford to buy any more F-22 4 if we were to buy Soviet, the political fallout between Australia and the US would be to heavy and besides to refit the aircraft out with western technology and engines would make it to expensive etc etc.Even the former Australian air force commander has said the F-35 is hopeless in all respects but yes unfortunately we will still buy purely for political reasons.

  • Dave

    says:

    If it weren’t for the grammar I’d say ‘Peter’ is 14-years-old. However, whoever he is all this ‘I-know-secret-stuff-and -you-don’t’ rubbish is so infantile that I just want to smack him in the forehead with a large spoon.

  • Anon

    says:

    “Even the former Australian air force commander has said the F-35 is hopeless in all respects …”

    Who said that mark? Can you cite a source?

    Peter…nah, just not worth it…

  • Rookie

    says:

    im kind of in a 50/50 position on this one. they seem to be going down similar issues they made with the F-4 phantom at first, relying on new technology rather than raw ability….if the technology works then well yes i think they will have a good platform…but if it doesnt then nato/western air forces are going to be up SH*T creek……

  • Raymond

    says:

    *Alert! Alert!*

    AA: we have the beginnings of another episode of abuse involving you-know-who…

  • Terry

    says:

    In “Time magazine in February 2013 it was revealed, for the first time, that Marine pilots are not allowed to perform a vertical landing- the maneuver being deemed too dangerous, it is reserved only for Lockheed test pilots.”
    F35 B yet another lockheed late delivery lemon.

    Thankfully at last Australia may not be committed to buy the first dud F35As off the very slow production line. Best option is to delay the purchase and wait for the aircraft to meet decent specs like all other normal major defence purchases. do not buy the first run of anything, they will be the duds.

    Maybe in a few years when they get it right, we should consider a purchase of a couple of dozen F35B for power projection in the pacific pond on our new mini aircraft carriers.

  • Terry

    says:

    It continues, another grounding of all variants, cracked turbine blades. The current 55 planes may go on sale as factory seconds soon.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Terry – I have confidence that the F-35 will be a winner in the end. There will always be developmental issues to iron out with complex programs such as this. While not good, just remember that the engine blade crack is a P&W issue, not an F-35 issue with the aircraft itself. And don’t forget that there hasn’t been a catastrophic loss of an F-35 as yet with hundreds of hours already flown; many other developmental aircraft had suffered airframe losses by now.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Sorry, it’s actually nearly 5,900 flight hours in total…

  • Terry

    says:

    Development issues are normal so do not buy the first planes off the production line. Delay any purchase until the plane can be reliable. If you pass all the easy flight tests first does not mean the aircraft is OK. It means it can fly and now that is even in doubt. It does not mean it can do the job required by Australia.
    Do not buy this dud until it is a proven aircraft and then only buy a few for our new “aircraft carriers”. Build a fleet of F/A 18 Es and Fs and wait for a final tested capable production aircraft, before making any commitment. Then only buy buy if they cost less than $50m per copy. $130m plus is a crazy price for a fat slow day 2 or 3 aircraft.
    The F35 may one day be useful, but not yet give it at least 5 years to finish development and stabilise production and price.

Comments are closed.

Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year