Sunday, March 31, 2013

Biggest defense contract picked without demonstrating key component

(X-32, one AMRAAM and one air-to-ground weapon shape per bay.
Click image to make larger)

The above is a photo of the Boeing X-32 during the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) competition which ended in 2001 with the Lockheed Martin X-35 picked as a winner by the U.S. DOD.

The photo is important because of the two competing aircraft, only the Boeing X-32 had weapons bays. The X-35 was given a pass by the U.S. DOD with the assumption of weapons bay risk-reduction and knowledge being proven by LM because of the F-22.

I wonder who gave them that idea?

During the competition, the X-32 had to take stuff off the aircraft to demonstrate vertical landing. "Holes are heavy" stated a Lockheed Martin F-35 test pilot some years ago. Adding weapons bays to a design has an affect on the weight assumptions (doors, appliance compromise, etc.). The LM F-35 had less of a weight penalty and demonstrated vertical landing without having to take things off the aircraft.

Note that because of the JSF STOVL design requirement and the kind of STOVL appliances used by the F-35, weapons bays would be nothing like that of the F-22.

(F-35 weapons bays)

It would be unlikely you could have the main weapons bay of an F-22 on the F-35 with the presence of a lift-fan.

(F-22 weapons bays)

Now, we have an admission from one of the key LM F-35 program persons, that weight assumptions for the F-35 were wrong.

F-35 weight risk was predicted by independent experts years ago.

The designs of all three JSF variants are presenting with critical single points of failure while even the most basic elements of aircraft design (e.g. weight, volume, aerodynamics, structures, thermal management, electrical power, etc.) will almost certainly end up in what Engineers call "Coffin Corner".

Conformal fuel tanks-F-16

(Israeli F-16 with conformal fuel tanks)

Just something captured from the Internet when considering conformal fuel tanks on any design. In this case the F-16. I knew one of them had to be pulled when you did gun maintenance but this is interesting:

I worked these for awhile in the UAE.The conformals are not difficult to remove and install, thing is they are ALWAYS coming off for maintenance. We had a "conformal crew" and that is pretty much all they did all day long, and we won't even talk about the secondary ECS system for the AN/APG 80 AESA radar. We have CFT's here in Oman on the block 50 but are not flying with them at the moment.

This could also be a consideration when looking at putting them on the Super Hornet design. Don't know what that impact would be on daily maintenance.


The F-15E conformals are slung low on the airframe. They also need to be pulled from time-to-time for various maintenance activity.

Illegal boat-people problem update

Below is the illegal boat-people report for the first quarter of 2013 courtesy of a reader. One of the things the current party in charge did when they took power was to scrap a policy that already worked. Kind of puts a new spin on the next Defence White Paper when the rent-seekers say we need expensive big ticket items that contribute nothing toward protecting who we let into the country.

Each link below shows the potential number of lucky queue-jumpers.

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Sales Manager Jason Clare is responsible for the field client acquisition teams who are the final interface for our foreign client sales programs.
Jason's been very busy with sales teams really stretched, trying to keep up with the popularity of marketing's really innovative new products.
Here's Jason's Sales Report for the Quarter - with one day to go who knows how many he might end up with! Congratulations on a busy 90 days Jason!

First Quarter 2013
30 March 2013 - Border Protection Command assists vessel
HMAS Maitland, operating in support of the Australian Maritime Search and Rescue Authority, has rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance east of Christmas Island Wednesday afternoon.
30 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Albany, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel east of Ashmore Islands on Thursday night.
28 March 2013 - Border Protection Command assists vessels
ACV Ocean Protector operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre has rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance north-east of Christmas Island overnight.
28 March 2013 - Border Protection Command assists vessel
ACV Ocean Protector operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance 2.5 nautical miles north of Christmas Island this morning.
27 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Pirie, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel south west of Darwin today.
26 March 2013 - Border Protection Command assists vessel
ACV Ocean Protector and HMAS Maitland, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, have rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance north of Christmas Island overnight.
HMAS Bundaberg and HMAS Ballarat, operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia), assisted a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance north-north-west of Christmas Island yesterday.
25 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
ACV Botany Bay, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel south-south-east of Ashmore Islands yesterday.
25 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessels
HMAS Bundaberg, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-north-east of Christmas Island yesterday.
25 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessels
HMAS Bundaberg, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-north-east of Christmas Island yesterday.
HMAS Ballarat, operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel north of Christmas Island on Saturday.
24 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
ACV Dame Roma Mitchell, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel east of Ashmore Islands yesterday.
24 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Pirie, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-north-west of Darwin yesterday.
24 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Broome, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-west of Ashmore Islands on Friday.
22 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Bundaberg, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north of Christmas Island this morning.
HMAS Pirie, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel west-north-west of Darwin overnight.
20 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Ballarat, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-west of Christmas Island last night.
ACV Triton, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-west of Cocos (Keeling) Islands overnight.
19 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Broome, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-north-east of Ashmore Islands yesterday.
19 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Bundaberg, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-east of Christmas Island yesterday.
18 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Broome, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north of Ashmore Islands yesterday.
The Special Minister of State Gary Gray AO MP today represented the Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare MP at the naming ceremony of Cape St George, the newest addition to Customs and Border Protection’s marine fleet.
15 March 2013 - Border Protection Command assists vessel
HMAS Ballarat operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance north of Christmas Island overnight.
15 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Ballarat, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north of Christmas Island yesterday.
14 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Bundaberg, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel in the vicinity of Christmas Island today.
HMAS Ballarat operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance north east of Christmas Island yesterday morning.
14 March 2013 - Australian authorities assist vessel
HMAS Childers, operating under the coordination of Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia), has rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel north-west of Ashmore Islands last night.
12 March 2013 - Border Protection Command assists vessel
HMAS Ballarat operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance north of Christmas Island on Sunday evening.
12 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Ararat, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-east of Christmas Island today.
10 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Ballarat, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-west of Christmas Island yesterday.
9 March 2013 - Border Protection Command assists vessel
ACV Ocean Protector, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance north-west of Tiwi Island this morning.
8 March 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Ballarat, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, detected and intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north west of Christmas Island on Wednesday night.
5 March 2013 - Border Protection Command assists vessel
ACV Botany Bay operating under the control of Border Protection Command has rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance south-east of Ashmore Islands yesterday morning.
HMAS Launceston, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-north-west of Darwin this morning.
HMAS Maitland, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, rendered assistance to a vessel north-east of Ashmore Islands on Saturday night.
HMAS Glenelg, operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia), has rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance north-east of Christmas Island overnight.
21 February 2013 - Australian authorities assist vessel
HMAS Parramatta, operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia), rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance north of Christmas Island yesterday.
HMAS Parramatta, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-east of Christmas Island on Friday. Earlier HMAS Albany had responded to a request for assistance that was believed to have been sent from the vessel.
18 February 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessels
HMAS Pirie, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-north-east of Ashmore Islands on Saturday evening.
17 February 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Albany, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-east of Christmas Island on Friday night.
15 February 2013 - Border Protection Command assists vessel
HMAS Pirie operating under the control of Border Protection Command has rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance north-west of Browse Island overnight.
HMAS Albany, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, detected and intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north of Christmas Island on Tuesday night
14 February 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Albany, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, detected and intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north of Christmas Island on Tuesday night.
ACV Ocean Protector, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-north-east of Ashmore Islands yesterday.
ACV Storm Bay, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel south-west of Scott Reef last night.
HMAS Maryborough, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-east of Christmas Island yesterday afternoon
HMAS Maryborough, operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia), has rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance north west of Christmas Island today.
2 February 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Bathurst, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north east of Christmas Island overnight.
HMAS Pirie, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north east of Ashmore Islands yesterday.
26 January 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Leeuwin, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, detected and intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel east of Christmas Island today.
26 January 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Larrakia, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north of Christmas Island yesterday.
25 January 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
ACV Ocean Protector, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, has intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel east-south-east of Ashmore Islands overnight.
24 January 2013 - Border Protection Command transfers asylum seekers
ACV Ocean Protector, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, has worked with Oil and Gas Installation (OGI) support vessel Offshore Quest, approximately 92 nautical miles east-south-east of Ashmore Islands, to transfer eleven suspected asylum seekers into Australian Government custody.
21 January 2013 - Border Protection Command intercepts vessel
HMAS Leeuwin, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel east of Christmas Island overnight.
16 January 2013 - New Customs and Border Protection patrol boat launched
Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice Jason Clare today welcomed the launch of Australia's first Cape Class patrol boat.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Painting


(An F/A-18F approaches the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower for an arrested recovery under way in the Mediterranean Sea, March 14, 2013. The Dwight D. Eisenhower is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Andrew Schneider)

The Squadron boss Super Hornet always paints up well. I have seen many good ones over the years.

USMC colors could look good on this two-seat jet as well.




H/T-War News Updates

Friday, March 29, 2013

F-35 still at Lubbock

Source:

A new problem for the F35 fighter jet that made an emergency landing in Lubbock two weeks ago.

Lockheed Martin officials tell us the jet tried to leave Lubbock and fly back to Ft. Worth this week, but experienced a problem with a communications channel of the flight control system and couldn't leave.

The jet has been at Lubbock International Airport since March 11th, when a warning light forced the pilot to land here instead of Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

The fighter jet remains at Lubbock International Airport this morning.

The hard price of STOVL

This series of 2002 stories won a 2003 Pulitzer Prize. It should be considered required reading and gives us a good picture of the USMC STOVL story from its' start up until 2002.











Harrier losses of all types and all users to date.

USMC Harrier considerations



The following are just some thoughts around the USMC and their AV-8B Harrier.

Number of AV-8Bs built for all customers: 323
Program cost US$6.5 billion (1987)
Unit cost US$24–30 million

USMC AV-8B mission capability (MC) rates:

-Desert Storm-over 90pc. Average turnaround time during the ground war surge rate flight operations was 23 minutes.
-Kosovo 1999-91.8pc.
-Iraq 2003-85pc.(OK)

Chief F-35B marketeer and F-35B fan-club president Gen. Amos said this about the AV-8B in Iraq: "I simply could not have been more pleased with the reliability of the airplane and its weapons systems... and in the courage and discipline of my AV8 pilots."

Radius, interdiction: 454 nautical miles

Or according to Global Security: (seems high but so is F-35 marketing)

Hi-lo-hi, short take off (366 m, seven Mk 82 Snakeye Bombs, two 300 US gallon external fuel tanks no loiter-594 nautical miles
Deck launch intercept mission, two AIM-9 missiles and two external fuel tanks-627 nautical miles

Active USMC squadrons: 6 line squadrons; 1 training squadron.

Cost per flight hour: $11,134

Expected to be in-service until 2030.

So you see some of the challenges for the USMC F-35B want:

- F-35 expensive acquisition cost.
- F-35 cost per flying hour 3-4 times that of a Harrier.
- Poor F-35B MC rates.
- Harrier sustainable to 2030.
- The F-35 can't take on emerging threats (obsolete JORD), which means legacy aircraft do non-high-threat work better/cheaper.
- The over-hype of STOVL combat ops.
- Many other existing fire-support options for the Marine.
- No two-aircrew option like the F-18.


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SOUTH CHINA SEA (Feb. 9, 2013) Sailors and Marines reattach the wings of an AV-8 Harrier assigned to Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 542 in the hangar bay of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group is deployed in the U. S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility and will take part in amphibious integration training (AIT), certification exercise (CERTEX), and participate in the annual multi-national combined joint training exercise Cobra Gold. (U. S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda S. Kitchner/Released)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Consider the photo

Take a look at this photo.

Now imagine that back-seater as a Marine. All Marine officers go through the platoon leadership school and are ground-guys first before they go into an airplane. This is how it should be. Now the next part which should be obvious, that Marine back-seater could also have a tour as a JTAC. Add that all up and the two-seat Super F is an important aircraft for the USMC.

With Blue Force Tracker and ROVER and some other things, a good CAS aircraft for something this big.

To answer Sol's question. Everything on that jet works as advertised. It also, always leaves the deck with a gun.

As for the electronic warfare stuff: the Super airframe (like the Typhoon and Rafale) is like a sculpted digital tuning fork with many knowns in its base RCS (more so than previous 4-gens built 20 years ago). This means that the on-board defensive jammer, towed decoy (where the new ALE-55 can emit and spoof) is all coordinated by a defensive combat system that can better calculate aircraft vulnerability based on carry configuration. In the end, the jamming is more efficient and has to do less work. Extreme example, a perfectly clean, nose-on Super with everything stripped. Useful as a brush beater with its AESA radar to help F-22s on the same team.

RCS tuned aircraft with on-board defensive jamming better defeat most legacy air defenses or many lower power mobile battlfield short-to-medium range systems in the threat bands that are trying to kill you (usually X and Ku). The Super Block II fused and balanced defensive does that well.

Bigger threats is where it can be more of a problem.

That is a very broad generalization of "balanced" survivability built into the Super. Dirty Harry in Magnum Force: "a mans' got to know his limitations". You know your limitations with the Super's Block II defensive suite. A better warm-fuzzy than most.

That is what you get with an E/F Block II.

The Block I Super defensive suite is a story for another day.

USMC future tac-air? What would be nice:

Block II Super Hornet two-seat F (also on tour with one squadron per deployed nuke carrier)
Harvest Hawk KC-130J (A wonderful idea for strike) -already in-place-
Yankee and Zulu helos: Good VTOL -already in-place-

Huge cuts in Dutch F-35 plan

The Dutch have stated they can live with 30-36 F-35s. See this article (Google translate). This is a big cut from the original 85 in the Joint Strike Fighter Partner Nation plan.

The VVD can live if 30-36 F-35's (or JSF's) can be purchased for the Royal Air Force. That said Ronald Vuijk, defense spokesman of the party in the House, Wednesday after a meeting with experts from think tanks and the Hague Clingendael Centre for Strategic Studies.

But for the Liberals is important that the Ministry of Defence this year to decide on the follow-up of the F-16, he said. Vuijk noting that he "does not unscrupulously advocates" for the JSF. If defense with another device comes up, he can also live with.

The VVD MP thinks that the armed forces in the future in the forefront of conflict must continue to participate. According Ko Colijn of the Clingendael Institute is that 30 to 36 F-35s. Also points out that Vuijk for his party when choosing the financial aspects also play a major role, as the aspect of employment.

Over the years there have always been words over cutting from the original 85-jet dream. Now it seems to have more legs with this study and the backing of the VVD party.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Outgoing LM F-35 program boss admits to flawed weight assumptions

Outgoing LM boss Burbage mentions that weight assumptions about the F-35 were flawed.

Lockheed, during the early years of the programme between 2004 and 2005, was working on the conventional take-off F-35A variant first because the company did not have the engineering resources to work on all three versions of the jet simultaneously, Burbage says. But company and government parametric engineering models began to show that the weight of the F-35B short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) version of the aircraft was getting too high.

"Somewhere along the way, we made an error in our parametric weight models," Burbage says "Turned out we were predicting the things that we knew about pretty well, the structural parts were pretty close, the small detail parts were pretty close. What wasn't predicted well by the model was stealth and internal weapons bays because the airplane that had those capabilities weren't part of the database."

Actually it could have been as early as 2003 when quick-mate joints (appliances used to make production faster) were thrown away to save 1000 pounds of weight (Bob Cox, Team Seeks Weight Loss for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 19, 2003).
Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin's director of the Joint Strike Fighter Program stated at the time.: "That was the trade-off we had to make to get the weight down." This action threw out earlier, happy assumptions about time needed to produce each aircraft.

It may interest some that when the Boeing X-32 was competing with the later winner of the JSF competition, the Lockheed Martin X-35, that the X-32 had too much weight in the design. The only way it could do a vertical landing was taking off some nose pieces and other things.

And more. The X-32 had weapons bays. Or as a LM test pilot said later of the AA-1, "holes are heavy". The X-35 which won the competition, had no weapons bays. LM was given a free pass on this claiming that risk-reduction of weapons bays had been shown already with the F-22. Yet, the two weapons bays configurations are wildly different between today's F-35 and F-22. A big reason, is because of that STOVL requirement which drives all F-35 variants.

When the AA-1 F-35 test vehicle was rolled out in 2006, one Lockheed Martin official stated: “The weight of this F-35A is greater than what was originally projected, but not so high that the aircraft does not meet key performance parameters. The margins would be very tight—they are not wide, even with the redesign—but it would have made it. Every F-35A that follows will be lighter.”

Good use of words for a spin-machine.

The thin weight margins with today's production aircraft, will always be a concern.

Burbage made no apologies for his years of misleading Joint Strike Fighter Partner Nation government officials about cost and capability of this troubled program.

Defeatable

The fan-base tries the "it's classified" meme.

Yet this is pretty hard to believe, given an obsolete JORD and all:

One senior official from the region, who has access to the most sensitive classified information about the system, told me recently that the F-35 is "simply undefeatable."

A rough parametric look at the F-22 and Typhoon which represent emerging Pacific Rim threats like the PAK/FA and SU-3x shows the problem:

(click image to make larger)

Action stations cheerleaders

It can’t be called “AOL Defense” because there has not been much credible defense reporting.

I shall name it; “AOL”.

Anyway, AOL is hyping the coming of the Singapore F-35 FMS order. Yet at this time there is no evidence of credible and working mission systems. Marketing spin is not a mission system.

This is a fun quote from the AOL piece:

"If you want to understand the calculus driving these choices, first look at China, which to countries such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Australia is the primary long-term threat."

Poor calculus.

And this:

One senior official from the region, who has access to the most sensitive classified information about the system, told me recently that the F-35 is "simply undefeatable."

The author links this fantasy from the Second Line of Defense F-35 fan club.

The two reference threats in the West to simulate emerging PacRim threats are the F-22 (playing the PAK-FA) and the Typhoon (playing the SU-3X). It is doubtful that the F-35 can defeat an F-22 or Typhoon.

Then there is the ground-to-air threat.

And about that FMS buy for Singapore: the aircraft has to show up delivered in working form. And, there are real off-sets. Something the original Joint Strike Fighter Partner Nations should feel cheated about because they signed up for the "best value" Ponzi scheme.

AOL leaves us with this huge confidence builder:

Add the regular port visits to Singapore by the Littoral Combat Ship fleet to the F-35 decision and you've got a pretty powerful national security statement by the tiny state.

Can you say AirSea Battle?


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-Summary of Air Power Australia F-35 points
-Aviation Week (ARES blog) F-35 posts (2007 to present)
-U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) F-35 reports
-F-35 JSF: Cold War Anachronism Without a Mission
-History of F-35 Production Cuts
-Looking at the three Japan contenders (maneuverability)
-How the Canadian DND misleads the public about the F-35
-Value of STOVL F-35B over-hyped
-Cuckoo in the nest--U.S. DOD DOT&E F-35 report is out
-6 Feb 2012 Letter from SASC to DOD boss Panetta questioning the decision to lift probation on the F-35B STOVL.
-USAFs F-35 procurement plan is not believable
-December 2011 Australia/Canada Brief
-F-35 Key Performance Perimeters (KPP) and Feb 2012 CRS report
-F-35 DOD Select Acquisition Report (SAR) FY2012
-Release of F-35 2012 test report card shows continued waste on a dud program
-Australian Defence answers serious F-35 project concerns with "so what?"
-Land of the Lost (production cut history update March 2013)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Navy's tac air value decision isn't that hard

Nearly 12 years after Lockheed Martin winning the JSF contract, it isn't that hard for the U.S. Navy to make a value decision over its' tactical air roadmap. Even with carriers and carrier air wings being parked, there is no better time to round out those squadrons still standing, with new aircraft.


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(Parked carriers)

More Canadian F-35 spin

More spin from the trade-press enablers of a bad idea.

Not mentioned in the article is that early on, the F-35 was sold to the gullible as being 20 percent less than an F-16 for operations and sustainment. This would be great news if it were true.

Today for the U.S. it can be expected that the F-35 will cost twice as much to operate and sustain than a classic Hornet. Maybe more since there are no years of experience with an actual go to war jet.

Canadian Defence budgets are not lush. It will be difficult to go to Parliament and state that in order to fly the new aircraft, each squadron's annual budget used for flying ops will be double, or more.

That assumes the F-35 works as advertised. BTW, every other contender has a working high-off-bore-sight helmet-cued air-to-air missile. The F-35 is far from proof in this area. This makes the F-35 below parity in WVR.

As for airfields, Canada has some ops-contingency fields that are around 6000ft. This is more the job for the Super Hornet or Gripen and not an F-105 landing approach/weight/speed class aircraft with no proof of a working drag chute. STOVL say the F-35 fan club?

Range? Anything is better than a classic Hornet.

Since the F-35 won't be able to take on emerging threats, any other aircraft is better for Canada's needs. And, cheaper to own and operate.

DOD comes up with another questionable AFV scheme

The DOD could be taking a Stryker approach toward replacing the M-113 in service.

What is the "Stryker" approach? Make up a story to market a new product. Historically, in the case of the Stryker, a defective product.

Read this AOL piece, in order to get funding for the next great contractor event, they have to fear-monger the M-113.

In Iraq, however, M113s proved so under-armored against roadside bombs that commanders restricted them to base. As the Army rebuilds its capability for mobile armored blitzkrieg after a decade of relatively static counterinsurgency work, it needs a support vehicle that can survive and keep up with the tanks.

Well, while building in crew survivability against IED's is a good thing, IED's have taken out everything. They will always be a bigger IED somewhere. Styker and MRAPs have good crew survivability against various IEDs but they are stuck to very good ground (the Stryker is heavy with worse ground pressure than tracks) and roads. Tracked vehicles can approach an objective from a variety of points, well assuming roads are not the only choice.

Apparently the M-113 can be made with some IED crew survivability.

The second part of the quote above is also funny. That would be the job of the Bradley, which we already have. Also, losses are part of war. How many billions in R and D do you put into a new vehicle?

Fear-mongering the M-113 in Iraq is a bad idea because well, where do you think some of our M-113s have gone as part of foreign military sales? Iraq.

On Sept 15/10, the US DSCA announced [PDF] Iraq’s formal request to buy 440 refurbished M113A2 tracked Armored Personnel Carriers, which would be transferred from American stocks as Excess Defense Articles. The total contract value could be up to $131 million, and would also include 440 M2 .50 caliber machine guns mounted up top, 607 AN/VRC-90E Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radios Systems (SINCGARS), plus M259 Smoke Grenade Launchers, Combat Vehicle Crewmember Helmets, publications and technical documentation, tools and test equipment, spare and repair parts, support equipment, site survey, construction, personnel training and training equipment, and U.S. Government and contractor support.

The prime contractor will be BAE Corporation in Rosslyn, VA, and implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of multiple additional U.S. Government and contractor representatives to Iraq for a period of 2 years, with an option for additional years.

Iraq’s neighbors in Jordan and Saudi Arabia already operate M113s, whose light weight and tracks given them good all-terrain mobility. The M113A2 variant lacks the power train and transmission upgrades of the most modern M113A3 variants. Iraqi Order of Battle compiler DJ Elliott believes this order is part of an ultimate pool of 1,026 M113 APC, command, and mortar variants, which will accompany Iraq’s M1 tanks and serve is some of its mechanized divisions.

And this.

ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. - Vehicle production began here Jan. 12 on a Foreign Military Sales case facilitated recently by the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command to provide refurbished M113 armored personnel carriers and M88 recovery vehicles to the government of Iraq.

"These vehicles will help the government of Iraq be more self-reliant in the defense of their country, enabling our troops to come home," said Phillip Dean, chief of Integrated Logistics Support at Anniston Army Depot.

ANAD is planning to produce a total of 586 M113s, which are of the A2 variant. The FMS calls for 21 M88s.

ANAD's M113A2 work, estimated to be worth $60 million, is to be conducted here in partnership with defense contractor BAE Systems, said Carol Funderburg, depot business management specialist. BAE Systems is providing supply chain management under a Federal Acquisition Regulation contract. The vehicles to be repaired are from an excess stock of M113s at Sierra Army Depot in California.

"This M113 program is another excellent example of the continued success of the partnership ANAD has had with BAE Systems since 1995," said Funderburg.

This isn't the first time ANAD has performed work under a Foreign Military Sales case for Iraq, and more programs are expected, said Dean. Most recently, between November 2009 and December 2010, ANAD refurbished 140 M1 Abrams tanks for Iraq in partnership with General Dynamics Land Systems. ANAD will begin another M1 program in May to provide tanks for Saudi Arabia and is working now to develop business with Australia.

While the local community will be impacted by continued revenue flow, no new jobs were created for the M113 and M88 refurbishment work. "The benefit of this work to ANAD is the sustainment of our core capabilities," said Funderburg, "and it could serve as a model for additional M113 FMS workload."

Workers will be repairing the M113s at a rate of 50 vehicles per month throughout fiscal year 2011 until all are completed, said Dean. The first delivery of M113s to Iraq is set for July.

But yeah, somehow M-113s are bad for the region. Imagine how much value refurbished M-113s would provide for the U.S. in a Pacific Pivot. Given that they can actually swim.