Lockheed-Martin F-35 "Lightning II" - Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)

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posted on Feb, 27 2004 @ 05:02 PM
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Opinion: With all the press and acclaim the stealthy, supercruising F-22 Raptor is getting I think it would be a good idea for Raptor-enamored enthusiasts to take a good look at what I believe will be the main "manned" battlefield air dominance & ground support platform for the US over the next 20 years... the Lockheed-Martin F-35.


The F-22 is the most expensive air-superiority system ever. Let's face it... "Supercruise" is nice, but not necessary to ensure battlefield domination.

In fact the abilities that the F-22 brings to the table are massive overkill for battlefield support and attack - the US would be ill-advised putting the most expensive fighter in history in a high risk ground support/attack role.

Better to save that duty for the less expensive workhorse that the F-35 is designed to be.

Cost Comparison: Originally the Air Force had planned to buy 438 F-22s at a total cost of $71 billion, for an average cost of $159 million per unit, making it as mentioned above, the most expensive fighter aircraft in history.

The F-35 by contrast is reported to cost between $40-50 million per unit.

(It is important to point out that the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), released in May 1997, recommended reducing the total number of aircraft purchased to 339 - still the most expensive fighter in history.

Cost Effective Strike Platform:
Cost effective yes...
cheap?
No...
The F-35 is as stealthy as an F-117 prior to it's most recent upgrade, the B model can do short take-offs, go supersonic once airborne and then land vertically like a Harrier AV-8. The next few paragraphs will be devoted to further facts and statistics on the F-35.

While I am aware that there are other threads that discuss a variety of issues concerning the F-35, I thought it would be beneficial to provide factual & consolidated reference information on the F-35.



The Lockheed-Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)

History:
The F-35 was declared winner of the US Department of Defense Joint Strike Fighter competition in 2001 when the Lockheed Martin X-35 was judged superior to the Boeing X-32.



F-35 Mission, Conceptual Overview & Development:

The F-35 is a stealthy (radar-evading), supersonic multirole fighter designed to meet the U.S. government's requirements for a new generation of transformational weapons.

The single-engine JSF will be manufactured in three versions:

The F-35A - a conventional-takeoff-and-landing (CTOL) variant for the U.S. Air Force

The F-35B - short-takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) version for the U.S. Marine Corps & UK Joint Forces.

The F-35C - aircraft-carrier version for the U.S. Navy (CV)



Economic Considerations:
The cornerstone of the F-35 is affordability, achieved in large part through a very high level of common parts and systems across the three versions of the aircraft.

The F-35 is designed to replace aging fighter inventories, including U.S. Air Force A-10s and F-16s, U.S. Navy F/A-18s, U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers and F/A-18s, and United Kingdom Harrier GR.7s and Sea Harriers.


Manufacturers of the F-35:

The corporations involved in the development and manufacture of the F-35 are as follows:

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company manufactures the F-16, the world?s most successful and affordable multi-role aircraft fighter, and is the prime contractor on the stealthy F-22, the world?s most advanced fighter.

Northrop Grumman the prime contractor on the B-2 Spirit bomber, the world's most advanced operational stealth aircraft.

BAE SYSTEMS pioneered vertical lift in the very first STOVL fighter.


International Partners in F-35 R&D:

The F-35 project has been an international effort from the start, with eight international partners ? the United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Australia.


F-35 - Capabilities & Performance Compared to Others in it's Class:

In comparing the F-35 to the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, F-16C/Block 60 and F/A-18E/F, the F-35 has a decisive advantage due to its advanced integrated avionic architecture, which is modelled from the F-22A. With a multitude of GigaHertz clock speed processors, high speed digital busses with around 1,000 times the throughput of the Military-Standard-1553B busses in the teen series and Eurocanard fighters, there is simply no contest. While updated versions of the teen series and Eurocanard fighters might see a similar integrated avionic architecture in the post 2010 period, this upgrade will not be cheap and the costs will be passed along to the purchasers of these other aircraft.

Against all of these contenders, the F-35 has a greater survivability advantage thanks to its use of evolved second generation stealth technology, again derived from the F-22A technology base. With a forward sector radar cross section cited to be `close to the F-22' the F-35 is more than a challenging target even to the most advanced forward sector radar guided threats.

The F-35 as a "bomb-truck" falls into a similar payload class to these previously mentioned fighters, but with the important distinction that it carries its bombs or missiles internally, and yet it has an internal fuel capacity similar to that of these competing aircraft loaded up with external fuel tanks. In practical terms this means that the F-35 can carry a similar load of fuel and bombs without the critical transonic regime drag penalty and loss of stealthiness external stores cause. Therefore it can carry the same bomb load further using a similar fuel load while remaining nearly invisible to radar. The F-35 demonstrators have exceeded the Joint Strike Fighter combat radius requirements - the cited figure of 600+ nautical miles radius has been met and is a distinct gain over the F-16C and F/A-18A/C's combat radius.

The STOVL "B" version of the F-35 is a rather impressive piece of high-tech machinery, it is the first and only operational aircraft in history to achieve a short-takeoff, level supersonic dash and vertical landing in a single flight; it is also the first aircraft to integrate and fly a shaft-driven lift-fan propulsion system.

Rivals that the F-35 is likely to meet on the battlefield are the Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum, the Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 Flanker, now entering service with some air forces.


Weapons Systems for the F-35:

Internal weapons-bay systems slated for the F-35 include:

JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition)
CBU-105 WCMD (Wind-Corrected Munitions Dispenser) for the Sensor-Fuzed Weapon
JSOW (Joint StandOff Weapon)
Paveway II guided bombs
AIM-120C AMRAAM air-to-air missile

External weapons systems slated (excluding guns) for the F-35 include the following:

JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile)
AIM-9X Sidewinder
Storm Shadow cruise missile

Below: F-35 Weapons for Internal Weapons Bays





Below: F-35 Weapons for External Mounting on Wings




F-35: First Fighter to Emply Direct Energy Weapons (DEW)

Lockheed Martin is tailoring a laser DEW for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that could be ready as early as 2010 for demonstration and the start of a full-scale development program.
Specifically the TRW or Raytheon 100kw solid state laser that is now under development. Placement of this laser system would be in the empty area on the CTOL & CV F-35 versions where the lift fan would be on the STOVL version.
The area that the lift fan occupies will not only provide more than adequate room for the solid state laser, but it also can make use of the lift fan's drive shaft, (good for 27,000 horsepower), which is more than adequate to power a 100kw solid state laser.
The laser weapon's function will initially be defensive, destroying any incoming surface to air or air to air munitions as much as 2-3 kilometers before reaching the DEW armed F-35.

Below: Images from left to right -
1. The solid state laser now being developed for use in the F-35 and AC-130 (and it's successor)
2. The F-35 B STOVL version, showing the area the lift fan occupies
3. A Lockheed Martin provided image of the F-35 using the 100kw laser.



Sources:

"F-22 ATF - Program Costs", Center for Defense Information, Washington DC

"F-35 Joint Strike Fight - Program Costs", The Cato Institute, Washington DC

"Combat Aircraft: The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter", Lockheed-Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, TX

"Boeing X-32 JSF Contender", AeroSpaceWeb.Org

"F-35 JSF?s Final Shape Validates Concept-Demonstration Goals", Lockheed-Martin Press Release - July 23, 2002

"ANALYSIS: Lockheed-Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter", Australian Aviation, May/June 2002

"F-35: The ?F? Stands for 'Future'", PiRep - Maxwell AFB, "Air & Space Power Journal"

"Weapon Systems for the F-35", AeroSpace Web.Org

"Lasers Being Developed For F-35 and AC-130", Aviation Week & Space Technology: July 8, 2002





[Edited on 28-2-2004 by intelgurl]

[edit on 7-7-2006 by intelgurl]




posted on Feb, 27 2004 @ 05:04 PM
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I heard the F/X 35 lost to the FA/22, the raptor and its variants will be taking all of the roles of the proposed F/X 35



posted on Feb, 27 2004 @ 06:12 PM
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wow three planes in one. That is versillity. Exactly what is teh point of supercruise if your attacking mainly ground tragets. Like the A-10 specialized as the tank buster, Now you have a fighter bomber which can do it all. The arnament on this thing is like an f-14 bombs and air- to air missiles. wow.



posted on Feb, 27 2004 @ 06:25 PM
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there was a nova special on a while ago about the competion between the boeing and the lockheed-martin plane. it was really cool.

this has a lot more info though. your posts are always so enjoyable intelgurl!


jra

posted on Feb, 27 2004 @ 06:27 PM
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I think this aircraft is pretty sweet. I definately like it better than the F-22. It's nice that it's actually affordable too. I thought I heard that Canada was thinking of getting some F-35s. Would be nice to replace those aging CF-18s we have.

Great write up intelgurl. Very informative. I didn't know that stuff about the lasers being developed for them.



posted on Feb, 27 2004 @ 06:58 PM
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Originally posted by robertfenix
I heard the F/X 35 lost to the FA/22, the raptor and its variants will be taking all of the roles of the proposed F/X 35

Dude, Where the hell did you hear that bogus crap?
The F-22 has a proposed variant , which is a delta winged long range medium bomber with no vertical stabilizers.
But there is no STOVL version of the Raptor, nor is there a navy carrier version in the works, although the navy did initially show an interest in the Raptor, they ended that in 2001.



posted on Feb, 27 2004 @ 08:08 PM
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But there is no STOVL version of the Raptor, nor is there a navy carrier version in the works, although the navy did initially show an interest in the Raptor, they ended that in 2001.


Where did you hear that from? The Navy was never looking for the Raptor to fill any role.



posted on Feb, 27 2004 @ 09:05 PM
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The F-35 seems really awesome.

Especially if you include one laser-equipped plane in your pack, in order to pick off missiles against any of the other friendly planes in vicinity. (surely they have in-cockpit local networks)

Being the heavier version you might load it up only with fuel and no ground armament.

If you fly in this configuration it is difficult to imagine a role for the F-22.

So what if against some hypothetical future Sukhoi (only likely competition) the F-35 might not be quite as maneuverable. They get their first shot in, but it's picked off and the F-35 shoots back soon after with some pretty good missiles.

I actually have the feeling that the large funding for the F-22 is not really for the plane, but for unacknowledged black projects. Just as much of the B-2 funding surely went to Aurora and other still black projects. The B-2 doesn't really cost as much as they say, and neither does the F-22. It's easier to do this in a straight Air Force project I'd guess than a big joint project like the F-35.

I think the military really wants the F-35 aircraft. I think they only want the F-22 money and they'll build a few high peformance demos along the way to look cool. And no doubt they will find that "shock" 10 years later the F-22 doesn't perform up to the (very aggressive) specs and there are "shock" cost-overruns.

Hello, McFly?



posted on Feb, 27 2004 @ 09:16 PM
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Originally posted by COOL HAND

But there is no STOVL version of the Raptor, nor is there a navy carrier version in the works, although the navy did initially show an interest in the Raptor, they ended that in 2001.


Where did you hear that from? The Navy was never looking for the Raptor to fill any role.
Cool Hand, I didn't say they were looking for it to fill a roll, just that they showed an interest in it.
Try this link ... I can give you others, but this should at least substantiate my statement.
www.nawcwpns.navy.mil...



[Edited on 27-2-2004 by bios electric]



posted on Feb, 27 2004 @ 11:24 PM
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Damn good post!
ATS seems to be THE place to come for quality info!



posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 07:22 AM
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Great thread intelgurl
We needed a good thread about the F-35. There's a lot of speculation going around about it.
The australians aren't very happy about the progress of the F-35 project. I believe I read something about it here on ATS, somewhere on ATS, can't seem to find the thread anymore...



posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 07:57 AM
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Originally posted by Zion Mainframe
Great thread intelgurl
We needed a good thread about the F-35. There's a lot of speculation going around about it.
The australians aren't very happy about the progress of the F-35 project. I believe I read something about it here on ATS, somewhere on ATS, can't seem to find the thread anymore...

It was that news article posted on ATSNN about the Aussies and their apparent disatisfaction that motivated me to do this F-35 post.
I actually included some of what is on this post in the ATSNN one, here's the link:
TERRORISM: Joint Strike Fighter - Not what Australia Wanted

F-35 & AIM-9's
One interesting point that came up in that discussion was why does the F-22 have it's AIM-9 in an internal bay and the F-35 only have it available for external mounting. (internal mounting is more stealthy).
My answer was at the time an educated guess and has since been confirmed by someone I know who is affiliated with the AIM-9X program.
The answer is that the AIM-9 requires a forward looking bay from which to "sniff out" targets. (In-fuselage bays in the belly of the plane will not work for the AIM-9).
The F-22 has 2 side bays specifically for 2 AIM-9 missiles in each bay. The F-35 does not have these side bays due to the need to stay within the required cost parameters.
It also bears mentioning that the F-35 can still internally mount other air-to-air munitions such as the AIM-120, so it is not unprotected in that regard.





[Edited on 28-2-2004 by intelgurl]



posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 10:19 AM
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Gotta question about those missles.
The AIM9 is a heatseeker, isn't the AIM120 a heatseeker also?



posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 10:21 AM
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As always, Integurl, thank you for an comprehensive and well written technical review.



posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 10:30 AM
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Damn, this is one of the best topics I have seen in a long time. Very professional and well put together.



posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 11:57 AM
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Originally posted by Mo0se
Gotta question about those missles.
The AIM9 is a heatseeker, isn't the AIM120 a heatseeker also?

Yes, AIM-9 is a heatseeker, the AIM120 is radar guided, hence the difference in where they are placed onboard the F-35 aircraft...

[Edited on 28-2-2004 by intelgurl]



posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 06:01 PM
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Yes, AIM-9 is a heatseeker, the AIM120 is radar guided, hence the difference in where they are placed onboard the F-35 aircraft...

Doesn't the AMRAAM have a backup terminal IR seeker?



posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 09:03 PM
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Originally posted by COOL HAND
Yes, AIM-9 is a heatseeker, the AIM120 is radar guided, hence the difference in where they are placed onboard the F-35 aircraft...

Doesn't the AMRAAM have a backup terminal IR seeker?

Nope....
The AIM-120 AMRAAM is radar-inertial guided only.... it follows the radar information from the jet that launches it to sneak up on it's target.

Then as the AIM-120 goes into it's end-game mode the missile lights up the target with it's own onboard radar.

When the target's radar warning comes on telling the pilot a missile is incoming, he literally has only single digit seconds in which to use counter measures or evasion.

[Edited on 28-2-2004 by intelgurl]



posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 09:11 PM
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now this lazer, would it be able to fire many times in succession or would it have to cool down after each shot? because if multiple missiles were fired, well, they would still be screwed if it had to cool down. also, in the one picture it looks as if the lazer would come from the belly of the aircraft, which would limit it vastly to misiles coming from above. what would they do about that?



posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 09:50 PM
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Originally posted by cmdrkeenkid
now this lazer, would it be able to fire many times in succession or would it have to cool down after each shot? because if multiple missiles were fired, well, they would still be screwed if it had to cool down. also, in the one picture it looks as if the lazer would come from the belly of the aircraft, which would limit it vastly to misiles coming from above. what would they do about that?


Good questions,

The cooling issue of the laser once the system is developed for operational use would probably come down to the need to cool-down briefly after two or three consecutive discharges which admittedly could prove a liability in a dogfight.

It is noteworthy that currently the only thing keeping the solid state laser from being operational tomorrow instead of in 2010 is the issue of cooling the weapons grade laser diodes. This will certainly be resolved before the unit goes into service.
Also, initially the plan as I understand it is to have the laser turret on the bottom of the craft, but plans are already on the table for a second, top-mounted turret.

It also bears mentioning that the need to use the laser weapon at supersonic speeds presents another set of issues that engineers are researching, as there will need to be adaptive optics to account for air density distortions caused by the supersonic pressure wave that forms around high-speed aircraft.

All of this will be addressed during R&D...





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