JSF squadrons to become RAF???

Discussion in 'The Fleet Air Arm' started by off_les_aura, Oct 20, 2007.

Welcome to the Navy Net aka Rum Ration

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial RN website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Has anyone read the latest issue of the RN Engineering Review?? The on with a white cover with CVF and JSF on the front. Its got a great article inside all about our future carrier and aircraft. I was particularly intrigued to read that "the majority of Air Group personnel on board will be RAF". Hmmm.....run that by me again??

    Have they just given the game away? I think they may have confirmed what I suspected all along - Joint Force Harrier is a "stop-gap" measure that was introduced so that the Navy didn't have to sack 568 personnel when they scrapped the SHAR. Mark my words, as soon as this puppy comes into service, the crabs are gonna wipe their hands clean of the FAA. Whats the feeling up at Cott?
  2. If you look back at one of the many reviews we have had, Joint Force 2000 mentioned the FAA becoming a wing of the RAF.

    I can remember us ribbing our WAFU's onboard about it and we cut it out and poted it for them on the notice board.

    So the news is nothing new.

    Once a WAFU now a Crabfat.
  3. JCA to be RAF only?- No
  4. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator

    Well I reckon WRAF's are better looking than Wrens so it isn't all gloom and doom boys. Also the RAF has far better PR than the navy and they also have the knack of getting a healthy slice of the MOD budget through the use of slick operators in key positions. If you want more toys and better looking women I'd go down the RAF route.
  5. WB I choose to disagree, I would say the Wrens are better looking or has the Navy got a secret supply of dogs? The FAA becoming part of the RAF? This would be ironic, I mean the RAF was formed from the RNAS (where the quality came from) and the RFC (no comment), only for the powers that be later realising that a specialist navy air power was still needed. So what will things look like in 20-30 years when the top nobs take another look at things. Hey what the fleet needs is an integral air arm, er what can we call it, er hem, I know, hows about FAA? :w00t:

    Re-invent the wheel anyone?
  6. Mmm, having just secured (well possibly!) the manufacture of two 65 000 ton leviathan CVFs, it could be suggested that the RN aren't too shabby in this department either!

    I suspect that the RN maintaining an independant air arm may be the least of our worries in 2027. Indeed, I suspect that we'll all be a single amorphous purple blob by then.

  7. British Armed Forces with a Fleet Command, Land Command and Air Command? Nah! coincidence.
  8. Always assuming that I'm still sucking oxygen it won't me my main concern either. However what I heard from the Canadians many years ago whilst on detachment to Cold Lake, would indicate that amalgamating all 3 Services may not be a good idea, apparently moral went down dramatically. It has recovered, but isn't (or wasn't at that time) what it had been in the tri service days.
  9. Concur, and any such amalgamation would be a disaster for all 3 services. However, we all know that the politicians don't give an aviating bonk about HMF or our morale.
  10. Well, after Strike Command and PTC recently merged, the RAF come under a single authority... now known as Air Command.

    One step closer, all we now need to do is get NAVAL in front of that and problem solved!
  11. The only reason we got these carriers is because the RAF supported the cause. Reason? It's the only way they can be sure of getting invited to all the future parties.
  12. Yeah but have you seen a Crab trying to land a Harrier on No 4 spot from the hover??? especially when the deck is moving ever sooooo gently!

  13. You can join the Army and go to sea as well. Join the Amry as a navigator/seaman. I laughed at a friend who's joining as one til I realised he wasn't taking the piss lol

  14. That's why they want that big deck… more miss room. :angel8:
  15. Lets not forget the RAF Harrier pilot who landed on Hermes in 82 armed with 3 x 1000lbers, managed to land in the catwalk.

  16. Not my fault Chief, deck moved… :eye:
  17. Don't quite follow the logic, please explain, or could it be that in the future land wars (well away from the coast) will not happen and therefore CAS and BAI will no longer be needed?
  18. You can reach most of the world's places of interest with carrier aviation WITHOUT the need to ask Johhnie Foreigner if you can borrow one of his airfields even if there are any Johhnie Foreigners in the area that are either (a) friendly, (b), have said airfields, or (c), are willing to let you use said airfields to bomb the crap out of the Johhnie Foreigners next door.

    Simple, isn't it.
  19. F-35 JSF Hit by Serious Design Problems

    by Johan Boeder in The Netherlands. Earlier versions of this article have been published in the Dutch press and Defense-Aerospace. DID has worked with the author to create an edited, updated version with full documentation of sources.

    On May 3, 2007, during the 19th test flight of the prototype of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), a serious electrical malfunction occurred in the control of the plane. After an emergency landing the malfunction could be identified as a crucial problem, and it became clear that redesign of critical electronic components was necessary. Producer Lockheed Martin and program officials first announced there was a minor problem, and later on they avoided any further publicity about the problems.

    The delay has become serious, however, and rising costs for the JSF program seem to be certain. In Holland, Parliament started a discussion again last week. Understanding the background behind these delays, and the pressures on European governments, is important to any realistic assessment of the F-35's European strategy – and of the procurement plans in many European defense ministries…

    On December 15, 2006 the experienced Lockheed Martin chief test pilot Jon Beesley takes off for the first time with the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter), also known as F-35 Lighting II. The coming years, some 3000 Joint Strike Fighters are scheduled to be delivered to replace F-16 and Harrier fighters in the USA and in the air forces ad navies of several European countries. In most cases, replacement contenders are some combination of the Eurofighter, Rafale, Gripen and JSF. In many cases, the new fighters must also be available by 2014-2018 ultimately, when early-model F-16s bought in Europe will reach their end-of-life stage. Any further delay brings high maintenance costs, and too low operational availability.

    After a series of 7 quite successful flights, the test flight program stops in February 2007 to fix some minor problems in the JSF flight control software. This is not unusual in the early stages of a test flight program. In March 2007, the JSF returns to flight status and takes off for the first supersonic flight. At the end of April the JSF prototype AA-1 takes off several times a week. But then, destiny strikes. On May 3, 2007 with the second test pilot Jeff Knowles at the stick, a serious malfunction hits the JSF. At 38,000 feet (12 km) level flight and at a speed of some 800 km/hour, the plane executed a planned, 360-degree roll but experienced power loss in the electrical system about halfway through the manoeuvre.

    In an emergency procedure, power is restored and Jeff Knowles regains control of the plane. The pilot cuts short this 19th test flight and makes an emergency landing in Fort Worth, TX. Due to control problems with right wing flaperons, the JSF has to make that landing at an exceptional high speed of 220 knots (350 km/hr). The plane's undercarriage, brakes and tires are damaged. The plane is stopped, surrounded by emergency vehicles, and towed away, but several eyewitnesses take pictures of the emergency landing.

    Lockheed Martin technicians identify a component in the 270-power supply as the culprit in the near-accident. The JSF's new technology includes new electro-hydrostatic actuators (EHAs) for the flight control system, replacing more conventional hydraulic systems. In April 2007, chief test pilot Jon Beesley told Code One Magazine that the EHAs were production versions, and that testing could be restricted to the AA-1:

    "The electro-hydrostatic actuators, or EHAs, are another excellent example of risk reduction we're accomplishing on AA-1. This is the first real electric jet. The flight control actuators, while they have internal closed-loop hydraulic systems, are controlled and driven by electricity—not hydraulics. The F-35 is the only military aircraft flying with such a system. We proved that the approach works on six flights of the AFTI F-16 during the concept demonstration phase of the JSF program. We already have many more flights on EHAs on this test program. Because we are flying production versions of the EHAs on AA-1, we won't have to prove the EHA design on subsequent F-35s."

    After several weeks of evaluations, the engineers learn that there are serious design problems in this new electrical system. Expensive redesign will be necessary

    Normally whenever the JSF takes an itty-bitty baby step, the manufacturer reports it to the media for PR purposes. First engine run? Reported. Roll-out? Reported. First flight? Reported. First Wheel-up flight? Reported. But "first emergency landing"? Not reported. Fully two weeks later, on May 17, 2007, chief test pilot Beesley comments in a short press bulletin: "It was not a serious problem and the pilot never lost control of the airplane". Company officials say they don't expect any delays in the flight-test program as a result of the incident, and repairs will be combined with some regular, planned maintenance. Plans call for the fighter to return to flight status in June 2007.

    However, on July 10, 2007 Flight International announces disturbing news. Lockheed Martin official Bobby Williams now explains that there is a serious design problem in the aircraft's electrical system. The fault was caused by a shortcoming in the 270 volt system, when a lead inside a box touched the lid. A complete review of close-tolerance spacing and all electrical boxes is necessary. He adds that: "We will be back into flight in August."

    Another fact was discovered via a military employee of one of the European air forces, who works within the JSF project team, and is a liaison person for several air forces. He says that flying in 2012 with the JSF may be safe and the JSF can be used as a plane to fly around. But, the several software modules for weapons system integration will not be ready. Ground attack capability is the priority, so early-build F-35s will primarily be "bomb trucks" until the additional software modules can be tested and loaded. Air superiority capabilities will be restricted, and completed only after 2015. This means that full multi-role capability is possible by 2016 at the earliest, if and only if no major problems occur in development and testing of the weapon systems software.

    So, will there be JSFs on European airbases without complete air superiority capability in 2016? A sobering thought in the light of the intensifying scrambling from UK and Norway since Russian TU-95 Bears have began entering air space near Norway again in 2006.

    Nor are these the only challenging problems facing the F-35 program. The F-35C naval variant's Hamilton Sundstrand power generator was mistakenly designed to only 65% of the required electric output. To accommodate the required increase, it will also be necessary to redesign the gearbox for the standard Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, which will be fitted into the conventional F-35A version as well as the naval F-35C. The contract announced by the US Department of Defense in August 2007 says that this engine update won't be ready for use until the end of 2009, which is almost the beginning of low-rate initial production.

    Lockheed Martin can issue a subcontract to Hamilton Sundstrand to fix the F135's power generator without any publicity, and they have done so. As of December 1, 2007, neither Lockheed Martin's nor Hamilton Sundstrand's 2007 news archives show any trace of this award. Pratt & Whitney has a separate government contract for the F135 engine, however, and the award's size forces the Pentagon to announce the award under its rules for publicizing contracts.

    Although it seemed probable that last October the JSF would fly again, a new problem arose. During a test run of the F135 engine, part of the engine was blown up by overheating. On November 14, 2007, an eyewitness took pictures of the transportation of a new F135 engine. The date for test flight number 20 (of the scheduled 5,000 test flights) is still unknown.

    In an article that Bloomberg News publishes on August 31, 2007, it is announced that Lockheed Martin is exceeding the budget on the first phase of the Joint Strike Fighter program. The manufacturer warns that the reserves will be spent by the end of 2008, unless cuts are made. Lockheed Martin is seeking US Defense Department approval to lessen the number of test aircraft and personal plus hundreds of test flights to save money, and replenish a reserve fund.

    It wants to build 2 fewer prototypes, and skip 800 of the 5,000 planned test flights. This after only 18 successful and 1 almost fatal testflight in half a year's time.

    Officialy, Lockheed Martin says the reason for the rising deficit is: "the costs spent on redesigning a critical electronic part that failed during a May test flight." Redesign of something as crucial as control systems in this stage of such a complex project has to alert all involved partners and governments.

    Questions in Dutch Parliament

    This main threat to the Joint Strike Fighter program, in terms of growing costs and risks for planned delivery should have been made public long ago. In the Dutch parliament the Secretary of Defence was questioned on Monday 19 November when the facts about the JSF delay and rising costs were published in several Dutch newspapers on Sunday, November 18, 2007.

    The overall Joint Strike Fighter program is now projected to cost $299 billion, 28% more than its estimate of $233 billion when it started in October 2001. The number of F-25 fighters to be produced, originally estimated at over 3,500, will not be higher than 2,300 in the initial production orders from all partners. Some US sources even speak about an estimated 1,700.

    Australia has decided to buy the more traditional, but advanced and reliable F/A-18F Block II Super Hornet, in order to avoid any risks to their air defense stemming from F-35 schedule slips. Some NATO countries, including JSF partner nations Norway and Denmark, are considering other options entirely, instead of the JSF. One European candidate is the advanced but expensive twin-engined Eurofighter, already in service with the UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Austria. Another European candidate is the new Saab JAS-39 Gripen Demo, an advanced version of the proven Saab Gripen already operational with Sweden with NATO members the Czech Republic and Hungary.

    While the F-35's embedded sensor arrays will continue to offer superior situational awareness, both of its biggest European alternatives are expected to have similar advanced AESA radars and electronics. They would also enter service with multi-role capabilities, without the development risks of the JSF. Saab's Gripen also claims a price per flight hour less than 60% of the JSF or Eurofighter.

    The pattern to date is a disturbing one, where a string of difficulties that threaten to have serious impacts on the program's schedule and costs are minimized by the manufacturer and its industrial and governmental partners, or simply not announced. Note that until the recent set of questions in Parliament, the manufacturer succeeded in keeping politicians, the public, and most of the press unaware of the very serious fact that since May 3, 2007 the flight test program has been stopped completely.

    Without sufficient transparency, it is difficult for the public to evaluate the fighter procurement choices that will have to be made in the coming years by governments all over Europe – and even more difficult to simply trust assertions that all will be well.
  20. No! Apart from the fact that your argument is a bit over simplified, just how far can carrier borne aircraft carry a significant warload on a hi-lo-hi profile? Whilst I do not doubt the value of seaborne assets both on and below the surface, carriers and their aircraft are an addition to not a substitute for land based aircraft.

Share This Page