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The US Defense Department has chosen Australia and Japan to shoulder heavy airframe and engine maintenance for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II in the Asia-Pacific region beginning in 2018.
The two nations will split responsibility for heavy airframe maintenance, overhaul, repair and upgrade (MORU) in the Pacific, with Japan covering the north of the region and Australia the south, says Lt Gen Christopher Bogdan, head of the Pentagon’s F-35 joint programme office (JPO).
Australia also will take charge of maintaining the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine and establish the necessary infrastructure to perform tear-down, rebuild and test those owned by Asian programme partners and foreign military sales customers. Japan will begin to take on some additional engine overhaul work by 2023.
The US Defense Department has chosen the European nations to which it will assign heavy airframe and engine maintenance for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.
By 2018 heavy airframe maintenance, overhaul, repair and upgrade (MORU) will be provided by Italy. The UK will pick up any additional work needed following a review that will take place about five years into the programme, says Lt. Gen Christopher Bogdan, head of the Pentagon’s F-35 joint programme office (JPO).
Turkey will take the lead on maintenance of the Pratt and Whitney F135 engine and establish the necessary infrastructure to perform tear-down, rebuild and test by 2018. Within two years of that deadline, Norway and the Netherlands are to have established the same capability.
“First was heavy airframe and heavy engine maintenance because infrastructure-wise and technology-wise, they take the longest to stand up,” Bogdan says.
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea said on Thursday it will not send its F-35 fleet to Japan for heavy airframe maintenance, one of the two Asian hubs chosen by the United States to service the Lockheed Martin Corp stealth fighter.
"There will never be a case where our fighter jets will be taken to Japan for maintenance," said an official at South Korea's arms procurement agency, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.
"South Korea has the right to decide where to conduct maintenance for its F-35 jets, and it will decide whenever the need arises."
In 2014 the GAO found that the F-35 fleet would have operating costs 79% higher than the aircraft it replaced.
The estimated gap between the F-35 sustainment costs and those of the F/A-18, F-15, F-16 and the Harrier fleets as measured in 2010 is impressive, about $8.8 billion, an increase of 79 percent. That estimate comes from the Pentagon’s authoritative Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office, the GAO draft report says. The draft says that costs for the legacy fleet were about $11 billion a year in 2010. Based on CAPE’s estimate, the F-35’s annual costs will be $19.9 billion in 2012 dollars.
We're getting into a world where legacy fighters CAN NOT survive. Not will have a hard time, not will give as good as they get. Legacy fighters WILL NOT survive in another 10 years. They have reached the point of diminishing returns on upgrades.
The Air Force is in the early phases of a fleet-wide technological upgrade to the F-15 fighter jet to keep it in the air through 2035 and beyond, service officials said.
Air Force leaders want to upgrade the fighters with the latest radars, electronics and sensors in order to keep them viable should the U.S. face a more advanced military than Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We’re trying to make the entire fleet more capable for the future environment,” said Ottati.
The upgrades for the F-15 C/D fleet include the installation of the APG-63(V)3 Active Electronically-Scanned Array, or AESA radar. Unlike existing mechanically-scanned arrays which passively scan and receive signals, the AESA radar is able to transmit and electromagnetic signal or ping. This allows for more precise and accurate radar, threat detection and targeting technology, including the ability to track more than one target simultaneously.
The F-15 E also has an ongoing radar modernization program which is installing an APG-82(V)1 AESA radar on board the aircraft. Thus far, eight of these new radars have been installed since 2010 and the service plans to outfit 217 F-15Es with them.
The entire fleet of F-15s is slated to receive mission computer upgrades in the cockpit through an effort the Air Force called Advanced Display Computer Processor II. The technology, slated to implement over the next several years, will bring much greater processing capability to the aircraft compared to existing systems, Ottati explained.
F-15s are also getting a next-generation electronic warfare suite called Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System, or EPAWSS, Ottati added. The idea with EPAWSS is to provide a fifth-generation electronic warfare capability to a fourth-generation fighter such as the F-15.