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F-35 flight test program ends

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posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 09:38 PM
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After 11 years, 9,200 flights, 65,000 test points, and 17,000 hours, airframe CF-2 completed the last flight of the F-35 SDD program on April 11th. The final flight consisted of collecting load data while carrying external GBU-31s and AIM-9Xs.

The test program had its share of surprises. Seconds after taking off on the first flight in AA-1, the aircraft immediately rolled to the right. Lockheed redesigned the single piece nose gear door into double doors and resolved the problem.

Six months later, on flight 19 in AA-1, an electrical problem put the aircraft into a spin. The pilot was able to recover and land safely.

Flight testing is complete, but there will be constant upgrades over the life of the aircraft. The big one coming up is C2D2. That will include Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System upgrades for all aircraft.

www.flightglobal.com...

nationalinterest.org...




posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 09:48 PM
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Zap, when it comes to all things military I am the eternal pessimist but don't hold that against me for I do know a strong defense is the best offence, but I just have to say just in time for WWIII.

Pardon me but the booze is talking here.
edit on 12-4-2018 by CharlesT because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 10:23 PM
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originally posted by: CharlesT
Zap, when it comes to all things military I am the eternal pessimist but don't hold that against me for I do know a strong defense is the best offence, but I just have to say just in time for WWIII.

Pardon me but the booze is talking here.


Don't get too excited, just yet. It will still take the flight line maintainers and "tech-reps" another 3 years (minimum) to shake the bugs out of the initial delivery models... software upgrades and fixes can take the longest on an advanced airframe.

...it took us more than two decades to make the F-16 a truly reliable, formidable aircraft... just in time for retirement.



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 10:24 PM
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a reply to: madmac5150

There are two software updates scheduled for this year that will solve a few of the issues they still have to fix. The biggest problem for the next year or two is still ALIS.



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 10:36 PM
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I hope they get the issues ironed out quickly, I do. I had they opportunity to see a prototype years ago, and it was an impressive aircraft, no doubt about it.

My practical experience tells me it will take awhile. I worked F-16s for years, blocks 32/42 and block 50s. Every OFP upgrade that we went through caused weird errors that took months to iron out. Just as soon as we got them flying "code 1" every day, a new upgrade tape would come down... it takes years of shakedown to get them just right.



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 10:43 PM
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a reply to: madmac5150

You're right, they're finding new issues with this aircraft. It pulls so much data that it's not funny. Israeli pilots say that by the time they're at 300 feet, they have the entire Middle East laid out in front of them. And US pilots say that as soon as they power on, they're looking at everything airborne aircraft are seeing.

Then there's data transmission. The Marines are looking at ways to transmit their data to a pad system carried by the guys on the ground. Unlike the F-22, the F-35 can already use Link-16, but they've got so much data to transmit that it's like trying to put the water from a fire house through a garden hose.

They have a ways to go yet, but this is a big milestone for the program.



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:13 PM
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Lol, so it will be a prime fighter when 5G Is live. For now they must use LTE



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:14 PM
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a reply to: SR1TX

It already is, but even the F-15 and F-16 have problems, despite having been around over 40 years.



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:15 PM
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Sounds like they make a good plane, but arent very good at it.




posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:18 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: madmac5150

You're right, they're finding new issues with this aircraft. It pulls so much data that it's not funny. Israeli pilots say that by the time they're at 300 feet, they have the entire Middle East laid out in front of them. And US pilots say that as soon as they power on, they're looking at everything airborne aircraft are seeing.

Then there's data transmission. The Marines are looking at ways to transmit their data to a pad system carried by the guys on the ground. Unlike the F-22, the F-35 can already use Link-16, but they've got so much data to transmit that it's like trying to put the water from a fire house through a garden hose.

They have a ways to go yet, but this is a big milestone for the program.


I cut my teeth on the old F-4G. F-16s were high tech when I worked on them.

Now?

It is mind blowing.

(Of course, back then.... 90% of all problems could be fixed with an accurately placed WHACK from a mallet... or tire chock if no mallet was available)

Old school "re-booting"



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:22 PM
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a reply to: madmac5150






posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:23 PM
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a reply to: madmac5150

Except for that never sufficiently damned antiskid wire.



posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 11:32 PM
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originally posted by: IgnoranceIsntBlisss
a reply to: madmac5150





That was certainly the F-4G.

I bathed in enough hydraulic fluid and JP-8 during my career to scare any future crematorium. EPA regulations probably prohibit my burial on any public lands.

I have a nice spot picked out in Hanford, WA.



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 12:48 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I still see F-35 overheating mentioned on the interwebs, which we know is the oracle of truth. I've often wondered why this particular airframe has had so many thermal issues. It isn't a particularly unique plane other than supporting a "normal" and jump jet model.



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 03:25 AM
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a reply to: gariac

Thats because all the components are cooled by fuel so unless you are at 20k plus you cant keep it cooled fast enough. ALIS was ajoke...good in theory but it didnt do anything it advertised. I hated working the marine version.....thise damned doors were a nightmare for maintainers doing post flights

Anyway....im a strike eagle guy and loved that airframe. It had problems too but its still one of the best ever . Not biased!lol



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 08:45 AM
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a reply to: gariac

5th generation fighters have thermal engineering challenges. To keep the aircraft LO, it's not possible to simply bolt on heat-exchanger vents like they did for the AN/APG-79 in the Block II Super Hornet, instead any cooling vents must also be LO (in terms of radar and IR) and be designed-in from scratch. 5th generation fighters generally cannot carry external fuel tanks either, so they must carry an enormous amount of internal fuel - the F-35 carries as much fuel as an F-15C and F-16C combined. Anyway, both of these means the best place to dump the heat is the fuel.

Furthermore, ESA radars require more cooling than their MSA predecessors (AN/APG-79 in the Super Hornet requires 15 kW of cooling and needed ECS upgrades) and the F-35 doesn't only have a power hungry radar - it also has DAS which is power hungry, a new control surface actuation system (Electro Hydraulic Actuators) which don't have a huge thermal mass, an integrated targeting pod, and other powerful avionics. The F-35 is also highly integrated - it doesn't have an APU and a cooling system, instead these are combined in the Integrated Power Package (IPP).

This is in an airframe that is 2/3rd the size of an F-22. The F-35 is actually fairly physically small considering what's inside.

There is a post here by an engineer who has worked on the F-35 thermal system. There is another post here (and follow up) by an avionics technician who has worked on the F-35 - apparently it is rarely an issue in Florida. More about F-35 environmental testing here. All three sources are must reads.

5th generation aircraft also have internal weapons bays, which are challenging due to temperatures, acoustics, wind, and vibration. There was another case where they routed some equipment in the weapons bays for ease-of-access. This equipment was discovered not to be rated for the environmental conditions inside the weapons bays. Therefore operational limitations were placed on the jet until either an engineering analysis or modifications were complete. I do not know the status of this issue but I suspect it has been solved - haven't heard about it for several years.

The F-35 is almost unique in that it's a 5th generation fighter, it's unique in that it's the only tri-variant 5th generation fighter, and unique in that it's the only american 5th generation fighter that operates in both the microwave spectrum and the visual spectrum not just the microwave spectrum. With >3000 aircraft planned I suspect that have had more allowance to go with F-35 specific solutions (such as the IPP) as well.

Everything I have read indicates the F-35 copes fairly well thermally, except in certain edge cases. Updates to operating procedures (paint fuel trucks white or park them in the shade), and the software (allow/workaround to pass VSBIT even if fuel hot) would help these edge cases. Bottom line is I doubt the F-35 is any different from any other 5th generation fighter. The F/A-18 also can have thermal issues under certain conditions when low on fuel and at low altitude as well, I suspect other fighters do as well.

Also remember the biggest F-35 bases tend to be in the southern deserts of the United States. Luke AFB will have 144 F-35's - this is approximately equal to the total number of combat coded F-22's. Record high in Luke AFB is 50°C (122 F) with an average high during the months of June-July-August of above 40°C (100 F). Yuma, Arizona is worse with a record high of 51°C (124 F). The hottest base the F-22 operates from is probably Tyndall. And Holloman Air Force Base, where a F-22 squadron used to be based, is still significantly cooler than Luke AFB or MCAS Yuma. Part of the F-35 has thermal issues is probably also due to it operating from the hottest locations on earth from the beginning of its career.

I suspect the reason why you keep hearing about F-35 thermal issues is because people want to create controversy and/or clicks about it, because it's a deeply unpopular aircraft, and because its development was most recent. Whereas F-22 get a free-pass because Raptor and production is finished.

Speaking of thermal issues, I wonder how other aircraft do when operating from the desert? Specifically European or Russian aircraft.
edit on 13/4/18 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)

edit on 13/4/18 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)

edit on 13/4/18 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 11:36 AM
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a reply to: C0bzz

I will check out the PDF later. The reddit thread was good until it degraded into, you know, reddit.

Regarding hydraulic verses electronic controls, ultimately some device on the plane is creating force. I don't see why electric would be hotter.

New avionics power hungry? Generally new is lower power if (big if) the objective is the same. You plop in switch mode for a LDO, stuff like that. If it is processing power, newer chips are lower power if process scaled.

Now what I didn't know about was the air cooling of the fuel. It didn't make much sense just dumping heat into fuel if you can't then cool the fuel. Waste heat ultimately has to sink into the atmosphere. (In electronics, it is JA, junction to atmosphere).

The low power mode of the F-35 sounds like a limp home mode. Previously the plane would hit bingo for a lack of thermal mass in the tank rather than hydrocarbons to burn.

While I'm always primed for a good rant fest, I don't have all the data to analyze the problem. But it still sounds like there is a thermal management issue.

I've been on the side of having to explain power requirements to the unwashed, so believe it or not, I'm treading lightly.



posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 01:03 PM
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a reply to: C0bzz


A great read and some good links, just wanted to say thanks



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