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Executive Summary of the F-35B at Red Flag 16-3

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posted on Mar, 11 2017 @ 12:26 PM
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The War Zone blog has via FIOA the executive summary of the F-35B's performance at a recent Red Flag exercise (16-3). Some of the highlights or low lights:

1) The 6 F-35B's spend 96 hours in the air during the exercise for a total of 67 sorties
2) Several sorties were scrubbed because of fears of icing and notably lightning. Ironic given the aircraft's name but apparently lightning strikes are an issue that they have yet to wring out. Perhaps Zaphod has more info on this
3) Only two aircraft were mission fully mission capable at one time (23%) and half were partial mission capable (53%) at any given time
4) The sorties were flown in full stealth mode with no external stores
5) The executive summary did not speak to kill ratios for this exercise but blamed losses on pilot error or the exercise constraints like altitude etc.
6) Little detail was given but the F-35 did make use of its Link 16 and sensors to act like the F-22 and direct other assets even after it was winchester
7) The aircraft could not refuel int he air because no tanking assets were available for the "b"
8) they were limited because of a lack of standoff weaponry in the present software configuration

as the article notes it will be interesting to see what differences the more recent Red Flag 17-1 shows

www.thedrive.com...

edit on 3/11/17 by FredT because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 11 2017 @ 12:35 PM
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I'm quite curious about the lightning issue. Is it related to the stealth of the aircraft or potential to damage the electronics? I know that because of the composite fuselage the 787 had to incorporate specific lightning protection. Maybe they forgot with the 35? Having been hit with a lightning strike in the Chopper before, its not fun and it knocked our monitor off line, but we were otherwise unscathed so whats the F-35's issue?



posted on Mar, 11 2017 @ 12:36 PM
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a reply to: FredT

The early aircraft haven't had their systems upgraded to deal with lightning strikes. The B models that were at 16-3 were from the earlier production runs. They'll be upgraded as they go through PDM, when they're stripped down already, and it's more convenient and easier to do, rather than taking them out of service for an extended period of time to do. That's also why their reliability was lower. They've improved the numbers for later aircraft, but the earlier aircraft that haven't gone through the upgrade process are still seeing reliability issues.

The B models at 16-3 were also running a different version of software than the A model. They were running either 2B, or the update for 2B, where the A models at 17-1 were running 3i. They completed 3i testing in May, and started updating 2B with the enhancements from 3i, and installing 3i in the aircraft that were getting it, and were scheduled to be done upgrading by the end of the year.



posted on Mar, 11 2017 @ 12:39 PM
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a reply to: FredT

The F-35 uses a fueldraulic system. There were issues with the early fuel tank and fueldraulic system design that left it vulnerable. I don't remember the cause of the vulnerability, but I think it had something to do with the grounding protection. They were corrected, but some of the early aircraft, especially the developmental test aircraft, haven't been upgraded yet.



posted on Mar, 11 2017 @ 12:42 PM
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I could imagine ice would either damage the RAM coating or create a profile that suddenly would make it very much more obvious to radar and as for lightning strikes with probably the plane literally choc-a-block full of gear and unlike most commercial aircraft they may not have the space for being able to properly sort it out.

It does seem like it needs a good few polishes still but even when empty it can help older f16/18's to be able to more safely get in and out and keep gathering all sorts of sensor data. Its getting there but given the complexity it'll still take a few more years to iron out the problems at least.



posted on Mar, 11 2017 @ 05:22 PM
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The document states that the entire event was cancelled due to both lightning and icing, not that the F-35B couldn't fly in the event because of lightning and icing.
edit on 11/3/17 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 11 2017 @ 05:55 PM
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originally posted by: C0bzz
The document states that the entire event was cancelled due to both lightning and icing, not that the F-35B couldn't fly in the event because of lightning and icing.


The article said

Weather, specifically a thunderstorm and fears about dangerous ice buildup, forced the Marines to cancel two sorties since the potential danger of lightning strikes has long been a vexing problem for the F-35. In June 2016, storms temporarily halted Air Force F-35As from flying during a separate exercise at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, according to other records the author obtained via FOIA. Earlier in March 2017, Australia’s two F-35s had to wait an extra day to leave the Avalon Air Show near Melbourne because of similar concerns. www.thedrive.com...


The seem to feel its an issue for this airframe??



posted on Mar, 11 2017 @ 06:13 PM
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a reply to: FredT

All of the airframes in question were older. The 2 Australian aircraft were built in 2014, some of the F-35Bs at Red Flag last year were built around the same time. The production aircraft that are more recent are coming off the line with the protection built into them and don't have the same problem.



posted on Mar, 11 2017 @ 06:39 PM
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a reply to: FredT

It is an issue for early F-35's, but in this instance it isn't clear if the F-35 had anything to do with it.

The actual document is linked to in the article.

The actual quote is:


2 sorties were cancelled for weather (event: cancelled for Thunderstorms / Icing in the NTTR).



posted on Mar, 11 2017 @ 07:05 PM
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If anyone thinks the f35 has had problems in development,research how long it took the f111 to reach its potential.It`s not doing bad at all compared to many great planes of the past



posted on Mar, 11 2017 @ 07:40 PM
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a reply to: ridgerunner

People are flipping out about the C model catapult issue, claiming that's proof that the whole program is a boondoggle. What's do funny about it is that the F-18 had the exact same problem. The solution was simple for that.



posted on Mar, 11 2017 @ 07:45 PM
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originally posted by: C0bzz
a reply to: FredT

It is an issue for early F-35's, but in this instance it isn't clear if the F-35 had anything to do with it.

The actual document is linked to in the article.

The actual quote is:


2 sorties were cancelled for weather (event: cancelled for Thunderstorms / Icing in the NTTR).


Fair enough! I admit I did not read from the actual document

Also can you guys explain 'Partial Mission capable" in terms of reediness? Is that an actual metric? Do they mean that if it were say war time they could launch?
edit on 3/11/17 by FredT because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 13 2017 @ 02:27 AM
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a reply to: FredT

I think Zaphod could answer this way better than I could, but I think it is an actual metric and if it were war time they could still launch, although perhaps the performance of some systems would be degraded.



posted on Mar, 13 2017 @ 02:37 AM
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a reply to: FredT

It's officially Partially Mission Capable Maintenance or Supply, so PMCM or PMCS. Either you're waiting for time to fix the problem, or waiting on parts.

A PMC aircraft has SOMETHING wrong with it, but it's a non-critical item that doesn't affect your ability to fly the mission. So something like the third navigation radio is broken. You want to have it operational, but the odds of the other two breaking are remote, so you're going to wait for the next time the aircraft is in the hangar for either scheduled maintenance, or something more critical, or you're going to fly it until the part arrives and then fix it.

It's:

FMC-nothing wrong
PMCM/S-something wrong, but the mission can be completed anyway.
NMCM/S-Non Mission Capable Maintenance/Supply. The aircraft is broken and non-flyable.

Also known as Code One, Code Two or Code Three.



edit on 3/13/2017 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

edit on 3/13/2017 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

edit on 3/13/2017 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 03:22 PM
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Thanks! we have similar stuff when we fly. Some warning are land now or go no go if we are on the ground



posted on Mar, 15 2017 @ 02:21 AM
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MC status (FMC, PMC, or NMC) is all based off of the Minimum Essential Systems List (MESL) for each aircraft. It breaks down each system and mission type for that aircraft and it helps determine which missions that aircraft can fly. The C-17, for example, has different types of missions including airdrop, aero medical evacuation, air land delivery. A system might make the aircraft NMC for aero medical evacuation but it can still do airdrops so it would be statused as PMC. And you can have things wrong but still be FMC. It can get pretty confusing and our guys will argue about the correct status sometimes.




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