Posts Tagged ‘Lightning II’

Shaw AFB to Receive F-35 Lightning II / Joint Strike Fighter in 2017

February 3, 2009

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The first F-35s destined for basing at Shaw AFB, S.C., will start arriving in 2017. So said Lt. Gen. Gary North, commander of 9th Air Force, which is headquartered at Shaw, to the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce earlier this month, reported Sumter’s The Item newspaper yesterday.

Shaw, located on the outskirts of Sumter, is also home to the 20th Fighter Wing, USAF’s largest combat F-16 wing. F-35s will replace those F-16s. Shaw is reportedly on the Air Force’s shortlist of beddown locations for the F-35, a list that we still haven’t seen issued publicly.

The Item, citing Charlie Savage, a regional manager for F-35 maker Lockheed Martin, also said a noise analysis of basing the F-35s at Shaw will be issued in March. The Air Force has acknowledged that the noise level associated with the F-35 “is significant.” This has already prompted concern among some residents near Eglin AFB, Fla., which is supposed to serve as the joint F-35 schoolhouse. These concerns have prompted the Air Force to delay its final decision on Eglin.

USAF Selects First F-35 Pilots

February 2, 2009

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Two Airmen of Luke Air Force Base’s F-16 Fighting Falcon family were selected Jan. 9 to become the initial cadre for the F-35 Lightning II. 

Lt. Col. Stephen Pieper, 310th Fighter Squadron director of operations, was selected to be a squadron commander and Maj. Chad Lewis, 56th Operations Support Squadron assistant director of operations in weapons and tactics, was selected to be one of the first instructor pilots for the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft. 

Since only a handful of test pilots currently fly the F-35, the Falcon duo will need to learn to fly the aircraft from them, Major Lewis said. 

“This initial qualification training will take approximately two to three months,” he said. “Once we’re qualified, we’ll be responsible for training the next pilot in line. The United States Air Force plans to buy more than 1,700 of these aircraft, so we have a lot of pilots to train.” 

The two aviators will be part of the 10 initial instructors in the F-35 training program and will be responsible for training all the subsequent instructors. Along with FTU instructor responsibilities, the initial cadre will develop tactics and assist with systems development in future F-35 variants. They will also be developing methods of force application that will revolutionize warfare, the major said. 

To find suitable applicants to become initial cadre, the Air Force sought pilots with A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-16, F-22 Raptor and F-15E Strike Eagle experience. Colonel Pieper and Major Lewis submitted applications through their chain of command to be assigned a rank order number. Once the applications left the base, they were reviewed by a selection board chaired by Maj. Gen. Anthony Przybyslawski, Air Education and Training Command vice commander. 

The selection board evaluated multiple criteria including flying hours and fighter experience. Major Lewis believes these areas gave him an advantage above other applicants. 

“I am a weapons instructor course graduate with more than 1,500 F-16 Fighting Falcon and 500 instructor pilot hours,” he said. “I also have combat experience in Operations Northern Watch and Iraqi Freedom. I think these are some of the biggest things that helped me get selected.” 

Along with Major Lewis’ background, Colonel Pieper and the others bring similar combat experiences as well to benefit future Lightning II pilots they take under their wing. 

“The combat experience that a number of us have will prove valuable as we attempt to marry the additional capabilities the aircraft bring and the tasking the Air Force has for us to fill and uphold,” Colonel Pieper said. 

Though Colonel Pieper will be filling a different position than his current job, he is confident his experience will transition well as an F-35 squadron commander. 

“As director of operations, I have gained experience balancing schedule priorities with aircraft and airspace availability, which will be of great benefit in bringing the Air Force’s newest fighter into service.” he said. “The leadership development opportunities in my current position will pay dividends in the F-35 program.” 

For Major Lewis the opportunity the new assignment provides is two-fold. 

“One is to be among the first pilots to fly the F-35,” he said. “Number two is to be involved in the development of a program that will have a long lasting impact on future airpower application.” 

Along with the opportunities are the challenges associated with any new weapon system, he said. 

“This aircraft and weapons system is drastically different than any other in the Air Force,” Major Lewis said.

(Tong Duong)

F-35 Lightning II CTOL Variant Unveiled

January 4, 2009

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Lockheed Martin has announced the first of a new F-35 Lightning II aircraft redesigned under a weight-saving program will begin testing.

Lockheed Martin says its first weight-optimized conventional takeoff and landing variant of the F-35 aircraft, an exact copy of what is expected to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force, has been rolled out to undergo testing.

 

Read the full upi article.

JSF STOVL Lift Fan Tests Begin in April 2009

December 18, 2008

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The Joint Strike Fighter program will wait until April to start transitioning the short-take-off, vertical-landing (STOVL) variant of the aircraft in vertical lift mode during tests, when the aircraft will have a fully qualified motor, the program’s deputy executive officer told Inside Defense.

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Heinz: Joint Strike Fighter Program ‘Aggressive,’ but Balanced

December 14, 2008

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Despite a recent report that warns of burgeoning costs in the Joint Strike Fighter program over the next six years, the program’s deputy executive officer argues that the aircraft’s development is supposed to be more aggressive than legacy aircraft and called it a “fundamental fallacy” to rigidly compare the JSF to F/A-18 and F/A-22 aircraft, reports Inside Defense.

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Navy Plans to Reprogram $43 Million For F-35 Carrier Variant

December 13, 2008

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Due to funding cuts, the Navy will ask Congress for permission to reprogram $43 million to the Joint Strike Fighter program to avoid a delay of up to six months in the initial operational capability of the sea service’s carrier variant aircraft, according to Marine Brig. Gen. David Heinz, JSF deputy program executive officer, reports Inside Defense.

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F-35 Lightning II Avionics Tested

December 13, 2008

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Lockheed Martin’s Cooperative Avionics Test Bed, or “CATBird,” has begun in-flight integration and verification of the F-35 Lightning II mission systems suite, launching another stage of risk reduction for the world’s newest fighter.

The CATBird, a highly modified 737 airliner, will test the avionics suite thoroughly for several months before the complete system begins flying in an F-35 aircraft. The entire F-35 avionics system is slated for airborne testing in the CATBird in 2009.

“The F-35 mission systems suite is the most sophisticated and powerful avionics package of any fighter in the world,” said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager. “The CATBird is a shared industry and government investment that continues our risk-reduction work as we prove that the F-35’s advanced avionics work as advertised, three years before the first F-35 goes operational. This is the start of what will no doubt be an exciting period of validation and confidence building regarding the capabilities of this 5th generation, multi-role, multi-service aircraft.”

The F-35’s avionics include on-board sensors that will enable pilots to strike fixed or moving ground targets in high-threat environments, day or night, in any weather, while simultaneously targeting and eliminating advanced airborne threats.

The CATBird’s 40th flight, on Tuesday, Nov. 25, was its first configured as a complete classified mission systems laboratory. All test objectives were met in the 2.4 hour sortie.

“We were able to transmit using the radar for 23 minutes and selected six different TACAN (tactical control and navigation) stations, with data displayed on the F-35 cockpit that resides in the CATBird,” said Eric Branyan, Lockheed Martin vice president of F-35 Air System Development. “The results matched our predictions.”

The first Lightning II aircraft to fly with the full avionics package will be a short takeoff/vertical landing F-35B, called BF-4. All previous F-35 test aircraft are “flight sciences” aircraft, designed to validate the fighter’s aerodynamic performance. BF-4 is the first F-35 “mission systems” aircraft and is scheduled to make its first flight in mid-2009.

The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation stealth fighter. Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially, making the Lightning II the most cost-effective fighter program in history.

Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program Underfunded

December 13, 2008

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Outgoing Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England has directed the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to all but disregard a recent assessment by a highly esteemed team of military cost estimators that concludes the Joint Strike Fighter program requires two additional years of testing and development — and a staggering $15 billion more than is currently programmed over the next six years, reports Inside Defense.

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F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter

December 3, 2008

The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter or JSF is the next-generation multirole strike fighter aircraft of the US Air Force, US Navy, and US Marine Corps.

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‘Independent’ DOD Assessment Finds JSF Underfunded by $15 Billion

November 29, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Inside the Air Force reports that Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England has directed the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to all but disregard a recent assessment by a highly esteemed team of
military cost estimators that concludes the Joint Strike Fighter program requires two additional years of testing and development — and a staggering $15 billion more than is currently programmed over the next six years.