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First F-35 Joint Strike Fighter rolls out

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posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 02:33 PM
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Finally, the first F-35 JSF is rolled out!!






FORT WORTH, Texas, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The Joint Strike Fighter program reached a milestone Sunday when the first production F-35 rolled out of the door at the Lockheed Martin plant in Texas.

The conventional takeoff version of the three-service warplane is part of the Concept Development Phase of the program and will undergo intensive testing on the ground until this fall when the first flight is scheduled, Lockheed announced Monday.

"This program is young, and plenty of hard work remains ahead, but the F-35's move to the flight line is a major milestone," Air Force Brig. Gen. C.R. Davis said in a news release. "It's a great day."

www.upi.com...

Hires pic HERE




posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 02:55 PM
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I read your link and started laughing at the stupidity of the top brass if they think the F-35 will be able to replace the A-10. Not only will it not carry the same amount of payload but its loitering, low speed, and low flight characteristics are not good for a infantry support plane. Not to mention its survivability is highly questionable, the A-10 was designed to go through hell and back for a reason. When you have the task of low level close air support your going to get hit, and putting a 40+ million dollar aircraft which probably can’t even withstand a 50. cal in that role is absurd.

Other than that, this is a step in the right direction for the program, I'm looking forward to the flight tests



posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 03:09 PM
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Very sweet! I just hope it gives us the advantage in the air we need. Als for the biggest bang for our taxpayer money.



posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 03:11 PM
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Nice to see it hit the line at last. Hopefully the testing goes well and we can get them into service soon. Man I miss the good ole days when it was like two years from design to service.



posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 03:32 PM
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Whatever happened to the Scaled Composites Attack aircaft being developed for the Army? If they go through with it, then the A-10 can be replaced with the JSF and it. www.scaled.com...



posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 04:11 PM
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I hate to think what the per unit cost is right now.

I would've thought the F-35 would have unusually good low speed charecteristics, at least, the STOVL version. Granted, there is no aircraft planned that can truely replace the A-10 in it's assigned role.



posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 04:20 PM
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The A-10 is designated to stay in service until 2028. My warthog isnt going anywhere.




“The A-10 Precision Engagement modification is the critical first step. Battlefield data-links and upgraded engines, plus expanded cockpit and weapon upgrades are next. These upgrades keep the A-10 viable on the 21st century battlefield until it retires in 2028.


A-10 Service Life



posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 07:46 PM
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With regard to the Ares, I don't think it progressed much beyond that first demonstrator. There is no production plan that I'm aware of. Its like the US Army issued the request, looked at the prototype and said, 'yes, very nice, now bugger off'.


[edit on 20-2-2006 by waynos]



posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 08:51 PM
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Got a question: The F-35b is called STOVL...But why not VTOL?

It can take off vertically, without a runway...SO I can only assume its more for safety, of course its riskier takeing off vertically, so is that the reason they call is STOVL.



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 12:27 AM
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Originally posted by mxboy15u
Whatever happened to the Scaled Composites Attack aircaft being developed for the Army? If they go through with it, then the A-10 can be replaced with the JSF and it. www.scaled.com...


The U.S Army is banned from operating fighter, bombers, and fighter-bombers.



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 06:30 AM
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Originally posted by Murcielago
Got a question: The F-35b is called STOVL...But why not VTOL?

It can take off vertically, without a runway...SO I can only assume its more for safety, of course its riskier takeing off vertically, so is that the reason they call is STOVL.



STOVL is the acronym for the operational requirement and it the way that Harriers, Sea Harriers (and AV-8'S?) have always been operated. I think that VTOL is beyond the capabilities of a fully fuelled and bombed up F-35 (as it is also beyond the capabilitesi of all AV-8B based Harrier variants) but vertical recovery with all munitions spent and much of the fuel gone is much easier to attain.

In VTOL mode that Harrier is limited to 5,000lbs ordnace, but in STOVL mode its limit is 9,000lb. This will also apply to the F-35B (even if the numbers are different) and so that is why STOVL is preferred by the operators.



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 10:49 AM
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WestPoint23,

>>
I read your link and started laughing at the stupidity of the top brass if they think the F-35 will be able to replace the A-10.
>>

Actually, the A-10 is desperately in need of replacement because by the time you include the SADL (and the bentpipe networking that is making the Hog into a cheap ACN U-2 immitator), the EGI/PE mod and LITENING LDP (which is only slowly happening to about a third of the fleet), and the upgraded engines to go along with HogUp/Cupid work on the structure and in the cockpit, _by time invested_ you will be better off (cheaper) going with a new program start.

>>
Not only will it not carry the same amount of payload but its loitering, low speed, and low flight characteristics are not good for a infantry support plane.
>>

First off, the 'useful' payload of the A-10 with a LITENING is 1 Maverick and 2 GBU-12. Vs. 4 GBU-12 or 2 GBU-12 and 14 70mm FFAR with APKWS heads likely in the next 2 years _on an F-16_. Admttedly, the A-10 can also carry the LAU-131 on the midboards so that it gains FFAR capability but even now, less than one in three A-10s has targeting pods to support them.

Loitering only matters if you have a sufficiently large force to execute all missions and the Hog is so critically short-inventoried that the F-16 has taken over it's job even in such exotic roles as CSAR coordinator. OTOH, the A-10 is going to transit to a target area somewhere between 270 and 320 knots. Probably under 15,000ft. An F-whatever can better that by 100 knots and 10,000ft or more.

When taken in combination with the Hogs lack of a combat tank, vs. most F-jets ability to DOUBLE internal fraction _without losing ordnance_ the reality is that the jet which can make a short hop out to a **safe** tanker track and then come back in, is a superior warfighter. Most especially if it arrives upwards of 20 minutes ahead of the Hog in the target area to begin with.

Don't forget that the A-10 was originally a throwaway asset designed to work out of six FOLs in Germany, each within about 20-50nm of the IGB. As such, it was deemed (wrongly) that 'avionics did not matter' as the jet was supposed to operate under Euromuck low ceilings. It's tactics set has similarly been built around a JAAT role in which overhead or parallel CAS is done using a visual FSCL, more or less based on 'whatever tree line the helos are bobbing behind'. Yet in SUW, it's inability to react in a timely manner often means an empty bag and when the enemy DOES fight, it's poor altitude capability and lack of auto target handoff (for itself or units depending on its 'O/A'=FAC/A) presence reduces it to an eyes on platform that has to come in slow and STAY that way, while sorting sheep from goats.

Compare this to the Marine system of cardinal point CAS stacks with rapid turnin to a pregridded battlefield coordinate system using ETAC or GFAC calls and either smart munitions or auto-handed target sets.

And you realize (as did Army units during OEF and after) that the Jarheads _know what they are doing_ despite being stuck with another 2-pylon Bug bomber. In and out. Fast and smooth. Don't clog up the overhead with your presence. Don't be more of a liability (Frat and BHD) than an asset.

>>
Not to mention its survivability is highly questionable, the A-10 was designed to go through hell and back for a reason. When you have the task of low level close air support your going to get hit, and putting a 40+ million dollar aircraft which probably can’t even withstand a 50. cal in that role is absurd.
>>

The original cost of the A-10 was around 7 million dollars in 1977-78, double what the original AX spec wanted. Yet the fact of the matter is that it is a complete failure in its original role because neither it nor its 'dumb plane enabled by smart missiles' weapons systems were able to hack Euro weather which is dim and misty about 70% of the time /in summer/. As such we paid for the (size of) a loitering CAS asset that couldn't survive long enough to stick around.

In any case, whether you have an engine cowl blown off by small arms in the Balkans or take a major rear fuselage hit from a MANPADS while toodling around 'looking under date palms' on the approach corridor to BIA.

_Once you're hit, your mission is killed_. As is anybody who is desperately depending on you to be their omniscient eyes as much as fist-of-God backup. Since the AF are firm believers in the 'buddy system' so too is your wingman no longer an effective contributor.

IF you make it back to base, things are no better because 2 out of 13 losses were based on attempted recoveries into FOLs resulted in A-10s pilots dying because 'they thought they could' when in fact, they _should_ have simply punched out once safe over friendly territory.

This is particularly grotesque when you remember that one of these jets cartwheeled down a flightline filled with not only other jets but munitions in open storage. And despite all the BS you hear about combat repairability, most jets in a high intensity campaign will sit out the war (or be bown in place) as stripped canbirds. Indeed, perhaps the most famous A-10 which supposedly to an SA-9 or 13 hit blowing off most of it's starboard spanwise panel is _buried in Saudi Arabia_ where it last landed.

On a statistical level, the DS .2 and .3 loss/damage rates (for sorties generated) on the F-16, were almost half again fewer than those of the A-10. Despite the Hog representing less than 15% of the mission force (the F-16 was around 60-70) and flying only 30 percent of the total sorties (I will admit it accounted for 50% of known BDA accredited).

Why? Because the A-10 takes upwards of 5 minutes to climb back to perch from a gunrun 20K-->7K foot altitude. The TF34 are just all over the place in terms of efficiency as the 'nickel plated core' degrades and no-one can fix it without effectively replacing some very pricey items. The 100B mod program only restores about 90% of the original thrust and while this is flat-rated to about 8,900lbst and 25,000ft, the fact remains that the A-10 is _well_ below .5 on a fully loaded T/Wr scale.

i.e. It plays down to where it 'can' make multiple weapons passes. Because it_cannot_ play smart platform at altitude.

Of 11 aircraft lost between 1991 and 2002, 6 were A-10s.

>>
Other than that, this is a step in the right direction for the program, I'm looking forward to the flight tests.
>>

During the post Russian civil war period, Bagram airbase, less than 30km outside Kabul, still the nominal capital, was _completely_ shut down by simple rocket and mortar fire. It became the veritable Davis Monthan of AfG.

That I know of, it's been hit at least twice the exact same way, 'since we won'.

Take a look at these maps-

www.globalsecurity.org...
www.globalsecurity.org...
www.globalsecurity.org...

Note that from the principal MOBs of Herat, Kandahar and Bagram, it can take an A-10 cruising at 300 knots anything up to three quarters of an hour to get to some critical border areas. When it /does/ do so, it often cannot overtop the local peaks. More importantly, not only is your base security force commitment tripled. But your _total_ CAS force is divided by three. Because nobody at an 'outlying alternate' can get to you _in time_ if you lose one MOB as a given canton goes hot.

CONCLUSION:
The A-10 is old. The A-10 is hard to maintain, even after the upgrades. The full suite-3+ 'PE' level of which will not be achieved for at least another 7-10 years. And the A-10 _fails_ at it's most basic mission which is to provide timely air support. Because they are too few. And perform too poorly for the effectiveness of ther weapons systems, to cover all potential garrisons with _5_ minute airpower. CAS in AfG in fact averaging about 26 minutes, if you were on the ATO list.

A UCAV force, with 8 GBU-39 'passes' on each aircraft, could maintain 2-3 CAS orbits per day, per base coverage zone, at about 1,200 dollars per flight hour per airframe. Using just 27 aircraft in 2.5 shifts of 9 aircraft, each able to fly at 450-500 knots _anywhere_ to cross cover a sudden activity spike while the hotpad aircraft spooled up to replace them. To do that with an A-10 force requires about 60 aircraft per base and a minimum 4-5 shifts to keep from fatigue-killing your pilots. At probably 2,500-2,700 dollars per flight hour, per jet.

THAT is what /combat persistence/ and _munitions effectiveness_ costs you to maintain an 'any good at all' cabrank system of on-call support.

Would the F-35 be any better (than an A-10 in this mission)? It's radar and EOTS would be. Configured for external carriage, it's total (IAM) 'precision engagement' load would be. It's dollars per flight hour cost numerics probably would not be. And you would kill aircrew trying to make best use of it's monumental fuel fraction, assuming the F135 makes TSFC and/or likes flight idle loitering.

The A-10 needs a replacement. The problem is it doesn't need an F-35. And the platform which is best suited to the loitering CAS role is in fact superior to the F-35 at Interdiction/Strike. So of course the All Manned, All The Time, Air Services will not let common sense take it's best course. Because more than the Warthog community would be out of a job.


KPl.



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 11:16 AM
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Am I the only one who notices how freaking tall the F-35 is when its on the ground? Compare that to the F-22k, which almost looks like a low-rider.



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 11:26 AM
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Have a look at the hi-res picture here: www.lockheedmartin.com...

Does the it look like it’s been censored in one or two places:



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 12:34 PM
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PM,

>>
Does the it look like it’s been censored in one or two places:
>>

The hanging device under the mid fuselage, yes. My guess is because it is a weight-and-balance (level?) meter of some sort and they don't want to have that particularly element of the jet's 'figures' known just now.

The others I'm not so sure. They almost look like some kind of plug in taxi/tow assist lights (there appears to be one on the other side as well), in which case the unusual illumination angles may have something to do with an optical system to make sure that either the tractor doesn't smash into the jet, it's towbar or the wall (with the jet). Isn't the forward fuselage mount actually where one of the DAS apertures goes?

If so, t could just be a convenient (temporary on the way to the paint barn) plug'n'play power source.

As to the tall landing gear, I imagine it's one of those six-of-one kind of deals. Obviously, the ordnance is going to be easier to reach up-and-in rather than under-and-between in all cases.

And in a CVTOL environment, the wide stance and good deck clearance also is probably a nice thing.

Overall, the move to the wingroots probably costs, a lot, in terms of lap joint and stress path isolation as you are essentially jamming the wing up at the same time you are dropping the fuselage down on deck impact.

There may also be assembly line trades involved as you can complete each wing independently as a subunit but you cannot erect the fuselage out of it's jig tool until everything is ready to come together at a late point in assembly.

Still, with the lower sides of the fuselage box frame 'hollow' and no centerline keel in place because of the need for a STOVL lift fan module, it was probably a matter of structural isometrics and volume control as much as direct strength/weight efficiency (they probably gained 25-30% on the landing gear installational weight by doubling the length of the oleos over the prototypes and moving their attach points outboard).

I don't like this jet. Not at all. To me it looks clumsy and awkward without much of the elegance that /just looked right/ in just the generation before

Note the huge spine whose loftline was 'lifted' and then 'recurved', twice, to make more room and shift weight. Note how AN/AAS-37 had /better/ work or the pilot will have more view problems than either the MiG-29 or F/A-18.

Not the silly GAU-12 muzzle which supports all of 180rds (one good burst) yet looks about as stealthy and aerodynamic as a train tunnel.

Note the high-peaked curveature of the snout to clear the EOTS installation and how the fuselage tapers to provide 'natural perspective' FOV to the DAS across the forward arc. Note how small the resulting radome is and thus probably how constricted both the APG-81 and the entire forward avionics installation probably /also/ is.

No. It looks like a pterodactyl. A wood and paper model airplane. Just X many aerosurfaces thrown together around a box without any elegance or blending beyond that needed for the bare minimum frontal signature reductions.


KPl.



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 01:21 PM
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KPI, I agree re censoring.

Also, this picture gives us some info on the differences between the production and pre-production airframes -note the new bleed air inlet on the starboard fuselage above abnd behind the intake.

[edit on 21-2-2006 by planeman]



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 08:50 PM
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The first of many. Fantastic day for JSF and the countries waiting to utilise



posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 12:00 AM
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PM,

My bad-

www.flickr.com...@N00/102699725/in/set-72057594068144534/

Courtesy of Jim Rotramel off the Hyperscale Newsgroup.

Apparently nothing more or less than an artifact of a very grey day and perhaps the tow vehicles lights shining off of glossy-smooth red plastic covers for the ADS pitot heads.


KPl.



posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 01:07 AM
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This one looks very sleek



posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 02:21 AM
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I think the JSF is a waste of time honestly. They both look uglier than sin. The F-32 more so than the 35.

Wasn't the 35 just supposed to be a VTOL, multipurpose 22 originally?

[edit on 2-22-2006 by Shugo]




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