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Marine pilots on USS America speak out about flying the F-35B

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posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 11:25 AM
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Both The Aviationist and Second Line of Defense have articles about the Marine pilots that were flying the F-35Bs on the USS America recently. They had 12 aircraft on board, doing a proof of concept exercise. They spoke to four of the most experienced pilots that were on the ship, and their comments were pretty eye opening. Second Line of Defense also spoke to the Marine Deputy Commandant of Aviation, and the CO of VMX-1.

From the pilots:

Col John Price:


My first “aha” moment was a seemingly simple thing. I was executing a familiarization flight near MCAS Yuma. I was coming back to the airfield and I basically just turned the jet and pointed its nose at Yuma. Immediately the jet is providing me the information of all the traffic that is out there in the airspace. When I talk to approach for the first time they are telling me about the traffic that is out there that I already know about and I see it. I can tell who everybody is that he is talking about and the jet also saw traffic that ATC hadn’t seen yet and I asked about it. And I thought, “Holy Cow!” here I am coming back to the field from a simple familiarity mission and my jet is telling me everything about the operational environment I am about to go into. In this case, something very simple, the traffic pattern coming back there, but I didn’t have to do anything to have that level of SA [Situational Awareness]. I can start making decisions about what altitude I wanted to go to, if I wanted to turn left or right, speed up or slow down. There’s somebody coming up next to me, I want to get in front of them – or whatever. It is a very simple example, but I thought WOW this is amazing that I see everything and can do that.


Col Rich Rusnok:


I was conducting a strike mission and Red Air was coming at me. In a 4th Gen fighter you must do a whole lot of interpretation. You see things in azimuth, and you see things in elevation. In the F-35 you just see the God’s eye view of the whole world. It’s very much like you are watching the briefing in real time.

I am coming in to perform the simulated weapons release, and Red Air is coming the other direction. I have enough situational awareness to assess whether Red Air is going to be a factor to me by the time I release the weapon. I can make the decision, I’m going to go to the target, I’m going to release this weapon. Simultaneously I pre-target the threat, and as soon as I release the A2G weapon, I can flip a switch with my thumb and shoot the Red Air. This is difficult to do in a 4th Gen fighter, because there is so much manipulation of systems in the cockpit. All while paying attention to the basic mechanics of flying the airplane and interpreting threat warnings that are often very vague, or only directional. In the F-35 I know where the threats are, what they are and I can thread the needle. I can tell that the adversary is out in front of me and I can make a very, very smart decision about whether to continue or get out of there. All that, and I can very easily switch between mission sets.


Col Mo Vaughn:


I was leading a four ship of F-35s on a strike against 4th Gen adversaries, F-16s and F/A-18s. We fought our way in, we mapped the target, found the target, dropped JDAMs on the target and turned around and fought our way out. All the targets got hit, nobody got detected, and all the adversaries died. I thought, yes, this works, very, very, very well. Never detected, nobody had any idea we were out there.


Col George Rowell:


It was my first flight at Edwards AFB Jan ’16. I got in the airplane and started it up. I was still on the deck and there were apparently other F-35s airborne – I believe USAF, I was not aware. I was a single ship, just supposed to go out and get familiar flying the aircraft. As the displays came alive there were track files and the SA as to what everyone else was doing in the airspace, and I was still on the ground. I mean, I hadn’t even gotten my take-off clearance yet. I didn’t even know where it was coming from. It was coming from another F-35. The jet had started all the systems for me and the SA was there. That was a very eye opening moment for me.

theaviationist.com...

Second Line of Defense spoke to General Davis about operating the MV-22 and F-35B together:


General Davis, can you describe the tactical implications of the USS America with F-35B, MV-22B & other Marine aviation assets?

The MV-22 is an incredible platform, it can go a long way at a high rate of speed, it can receive air refueling, and it can be configured to provide air refueling.

It can move Marines, and (configured) it can pass fuel to other MV-22’s or F-35s. That is a tremendous capability for the Marines and the Naval services.

These ships are designed for amphibious operations, MAGTF operations with the standard mix of Marine units that will go out (Marine Expeditionary Units – MEU), but occasionally we need to configure this to be jet heavy or helicopter heavy. In this case, this is a jet heavy deck. We could take up to 20 F-35Bs onboard, we put 12 on this time.

This is a 5th Gen strike capability that the nation does not currently have from a sea base. It is a tremendous capability. We had Vice Admiral Rowden (Vice Admiral Thomas Rowden, Commander Naval Surface Forces) onboard today.

One of the things we did as part of this test was the AEGIS integration with the F-35B. That’s a big deal. That’s a big deal for our Nation, our Navy and our Marine Corps.

www.sldinfo.com...

The F-35 is turning into a lethal platform and is showing that it works exceedingly well, despite the shortfalls that it had in the early days of development.




posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 11:36 AM
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nice!
I made a comment in another thread about how plain looking it is, I see now that they weren`t concerned with spending money to make it look fancy they went for making it high tech and functional, money well spent.



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 11:43 AM
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a reply to: Tardacus

The more pilots speak out about it, the more we're finding out about what it's capable of. And these are just the unclassified functions of the aircraft. The things they aren't talking about make it even more amazing.



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 11:44 AM
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How would they avoid C400



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 11:46 AM
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a reply to: suvorov

It has to see them first, and they have to be in range to be shot at by it, without being able to shoot back. It's not the be all, end all, shoot everything that flies down that people claim it is. It's one of the best systems in the world, but it's not going to shoot down everything that flies.



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 11:57 AM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: suvorov

It has to see them first, and they have to be in range to be shot at by it, without being able to shoot back. It's not the be all, end all, shoot everything that flies down that people claim it is. It's one of the best systems in the world, but it's not going to shoot down everything that flies.


I think F35 is too expensive if it cant avoid C400, money not well spent



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 11:58 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

The first thing that hit me immediately from reading the comments.

What kind of software do they have on that thing?

Did they cram learning AI, recognition on that thing?

Like a flying super computer on each plane.



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 12:03 PM
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a reply to: suvorov

So, you have nothing but "it's too expensive" to suggest it can't avoid it? The F-35 has better situational awareness than anything else, either ground based, or flying, that has ever existed. The F-35 has avoided every radar system tested against it to date, including some foreign radars that are in the US.



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 12:13 PM
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a reply to: grey580

They're using PowerPC chips, with C++ and ADA for the language. They started with a single chip, and were going to upgrade to either dual core, or quad core chips.



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 12:19 PM
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In the aviationist link, theres a picture of a guy taking off from a ship, he's off the ship, in mid-air, and he's got his cockpit door still wide open. What the hell, over?



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 12:19 PM
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In the aviationist link, theres a picture of a guy taking off from a ship, he's off the ship, in mid-air, and he's got his cockpit door still wide open. What the hell, over?



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 12:21 PM
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OOOOOH here's a can of worms...WHAT would all that sensory equipment make of a UFO?



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 12:22 PM
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a reply to: 3n19m470

That's the lift fan cover.

ftnews.firetrench.com...
edit on 12/11/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 01:19 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Nice article, thank you!

I've been waiting to form my final opinion on the 35 to hear what the pilots have to say. Sounds like money well-spent from their POV.



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 01:35 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Sounds like a flying supercomputer. The AEGIS system stuff sounds interesting, basically with these new systems the more birds in the sky the greater the coverage overall... Across multiple platforms.

It might not sound like much to some but to me this is shooting bullets out of the air kind of crazy. The real power is in the observation and the software crunching the numbers.

Like a hivemind of systems giving realtime or near realtime situation awareness. I wouldn't be surprised if they've tested systems that can virtually predict and give feedback too.

It's amazing really, with things like that MV-22 the US Navy have some serious flexibility.



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 01:43 PM
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a reply to: CantStandIt

The B model is about a year ahead of the A model in terms of tactics development. During a scenario for General Davis, the pilots took it upon themselves to make it harder, so loaded the strike element with external stores, to make them more visible to radar. The escort element, flying ahead of them was loaded with internal stores. It took about five minutes to destroy every target they planned on hitting, with no losses.



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 01:46 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Still using ADA
I had to use that at my uni in the late 90's here in the UK, its not a hard language as such and pretty readable by non programmers with a little bit of help (basically if you can know pascal then you're sorted), what i'd imagine is the code is part compiled down and then someone who really knows the actual chipset will give it that final tweak to improve performance.

But its good to know miss Lovelace is still kicking ass after all these years.



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 01:51 PM
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a reply to: Maxatoria

They're finally moving to commercial programming languages, but still need to be able to talk to the pre existing hardware that's been installed on the aircraft. It's a lot easier for them to troubleshoot and work during development though from what I have heard.



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 01:53 PM
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Indeed, its looking good.

Will be interesting to see what the RAF and Navy make of it, particularly with those wonderful British tweaks we tend to do on the quiet.



posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 02:00 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

The actual language shouldn't make any difference in theory as its the actual zeros and ones that are important so the quality of the compilers that will be of more importance but with so much probable legacy code being brought forward as they know it works and I seem to remember that ADA was the language of choice for the US military at one point.

The problem with any computer language is it soon goes out of fashion at uni's and thus it gets harder to find people who have even any idea of how to code in the language.

Even C/C++ now is becoming like COBOL as a legacy thing as universities just don't teach it quite often as its not fashionable.



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