Showing posts with label Aircraft and Helicopter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aircraft and Helicopter. Show all posts

Friday, March 4, 2011

Agusta AW129 Multy Role Combat High Technology System

The Mangusta has been successfully deployed with UN operations in Somalia, Angola and Kosovo. Italian Army A129 helicopters have been deployed in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and were deployed to Afghanistan in summer 2007, as part of the Nato International Security Force. In September 2007, Turkey placed an order for 51 (plus 41 options) AW129 helicopters for the attack and tactical reconnaissance (ATAK) programme. Tusas Aerospace Industries (TAI) is the prime contractor and is responsible for final assembly of the helicopter, to be designated T129. AgustaWestland and Aselsan are the main subcontractors. The maiden flight of the T129 helicopter took place on 28 September 2009 during an official ceremony held at AgustaWestland's facility in Vergiate, Italy. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2012.



In January 2002, AgustaWestland was awarded a contract to upgrade the first 45 to the multirole standard. The upgrade included: five-blade composite main rotor and two-blade tail rotor, Rolls-Royce Gem 1004 engines, new stronger transmission with a torque of 1,700shp, strengthened fuselage giving an increase in take-off weight to 4,600kg, improved weapons systems including Oto Melara 197B 20mm nose-mounted cannon and the Stinger air-to-air missiles, new FLIR (forward-looking infrared) system, improved countermeasures suite including EADS AN/AAR-60 missile launch detector and new global positioning / inertial navigation (GPS/INS) system. Deliveries concluded in July 2008.

Actually, you can check the availability on the helicopter papercraft model. By the time you found Agusta A129 papercarft design, you can make it based on the instruction. Although it is only a miniature but the design is really concern about the detail of the prototype. In short, soon you will have an Agusta A129 in a small size. It is true that Agusta A129 papercraft project will be very complicated to finish but you need to try harder so you can finish this project as soon as possible and the show it to your friends. In 1986, the governments of Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate an improved version of the A129, called the Joint European Helicopter Tonal. ("Tonal" was derived from the name of an Aztec deity.) The Tonal was to have more powerful engines, a new rotor system, retractable landing gear, improved sensors and more powerful armament. However, the project collapsed in 1990 when Britain and the Netherlands decided to obtain the AH-64 Apache instead. Spain has since acquired the Eurocopter Tiger. An export version, the A129 International (A129I), is a lower-cost helicopter with added firepower and upgraded avionics. In September 2007, the A129I was redesignated the AW129.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Russian Air Force Sukhoi-SU-27 and Next Generation Sukhoi SU-30MKI Best Air Combat Fighter

The develoment of models such as the Su-30MKI, Su-30MKK and Su-30MKM was a sign that the market for the Russian fighter was becoming increasingly specialised and tailored to the needs of specific customers. This in itself is not unusual in the military aircraft business. There are numerous versions of the Lockheed-Martin F-16 that have been sold to different customers who have demanded either certain specific components be utilised in their export configuration, or that subsystems produced indigenously in that nation be substituted for US-made analogues. Israel is a prime example of this latter practice. The difference is that at the end of the day all of the F-16s are produced either at the one LM plant in Fort Worth, Texas and/or are produced under that one production centre’s OEM design authority.

In Russia, as a result of the commercialisation and re-organisation that occurred after the collapse of the USSR, the two major production centres of these fighters, the Komsomolsk-na-Amure Aviation Production Association (KNAAPO) in the Russian Far East province of Khabarovsk and the Irkut plant in Siberia, both sell and build the Su-27/30 designs. While near identical in appearance and many other characteristics, both companies’ aeroplanes are different. This competition began as those who produce aeroplanes for India utilising third country on-board systems (Irkut) v. the KNAAPO aeroplanes which use almost all-Russian made systems and are the principle suppliers to China’s PLAAF.

In 1997 Irkut, developed the Su-30MKI (“I” for India) program. In cooperation with the Sukhoi Design Bureau Irkut added a moveable canard and a thrust vector control (TVC) module to the aircraft’s planform making it a super-maneuverable fighter. A new-generation NIIP-designed N011M passive electronically scanning radar set and an “international” avionics suite that included Indian, Israeli and French components made the aircraft multi-role.

Aircraft Sukhoi SU-27
KNAAPO, which had sold a number of older-generation Su-27 models to the PLAAF in the first half of the decade, followed suit not long thereafter with the Su-30MKK model, with the second “K” here meaning “Kitai,”- the Russian word for China. The all-Russian on-board systems option appealed to the Chinese because their primary goal is to be able to produce most of the major subsystems for the Su-30MKK under license in the PRC. Thus far, the Russians have been willing to share a great deal of technology and have also taught the Chinese how to develop some of their own innovations.

In the second stage, which the Chinese are well into at this point, the PLAAF will become self-sufficient by having some of the Russian-made major components replaced by Chinese analogues. Recently, the Shenyang aircraft works that licence-produce the Su-27s in China under the designator of J-11 have flown a J-11B model aircraft that is reportedly equipped with a Chinese-made engine and radar set. The experience of US and EU sanctions has had the result of the Chinese trying to inoculate themselves against any embargoes in the future. Additionally, the KNAAPO-built Su-30MKK also does not include the canard that is part of the Su-30MKI’s planform. This modification to the Su-30 was developed by Irkut. Thus, they technically own the intellectual property rights to this modification and it cannot be offered to the Chinese unless KNAAPO pay a license or royalty fee for to their Irkut rivals.
Sukhoi-30MKI

DUAL TRACKS
Both plants have now signed up second-order customers. Malaysia in the case of Irkut has signed up for 18 Su-30MKMs, an “Islamic” version of the aircraft that is similar to the Su-30MKI but without any Israeli on-board systems, and Indonesia has contracted for Su-30 and Su-27 model fighters from KNAAPO - although they are considering switching to Irkut with their next order.

Competition between the producers has a follow on effect in terms of the supply of major components and sub-systems. For example, most of the avionics development on the Su-30MKI/MKM models for Irkut is being performed by OKB Russkaya Avionika, with the Ramenskoye Instrument Design Bureau doing the same for KNAAPO. Moscow-based Salyut has been the primary engine supplier to KNAAPO’s Chinese customer, while the Saturn/Rybinsk alliance has been the major supplier for Irkut. It is interesting to note that the two engine firms each developed their own, completely different TVC modules for the aircraft’s AL-31F engine.

NEW RADAR SYSTEMS
Two of major suppliers that are consistent between the two competing concerns, are the radar design bureaus of NIIP and Phazotron. The NIIP N001 radar set that was originally developed for the Su-27/30 aircraft in the 1980s has been replaced by the N011M in the Su-30MKI/MKM fighters from Irkut. The N011 was being considered for the latest batch of KNAAPO Su-30MKMs, along with the Phazotron Zhuk-MSE as another option. Both models are current-generation systems that are substantially more capable than the originals and reflect a customer demand led emphasis on continued research and development.

NIIP have also developed less costly solutions that can be retrofitted to older aircraft, which both factories have employed with both domestic and foreign customers. The upgraded N001VE radar retains the older model mechanically-steered antenna, but replaces the central processor in the radar with a newer, lighter, high speed model called the Baguet that also eliminates about 264 lbs of weight from the radar assembly. The Baguet also takes over all the radar’s secondary processing functions and negates the need for several other components that can now be removed.

If the mechanical array is then replaced with the NIIP-built Pero antenna the radar now becomes the N001VEP “Panda” model (named so because of the fact that its development was largely paid for with PRC funding), and makes it a passive electronically scanning radar (PESA). This further enhances both air-to-ground and air-to-air modes, as well as extending the range of the Su-27/30’s weapon systems. These and other changes enhance the air-to-air performance and add air-to-ground modes. The aircraft essen-tially becomes a multi-role aeroplane.

Russian Federation’s Generation Fighter Sukhoi PAK-FA T-50 Program

Sukhoi PAK-FA (T-50) to Start Testing in April 2010

Sukhoi T-50 will start a standard flight test program in April, a source at the Sukhoi aircraft maker said on Monday, 1 MAR 10
– He said it would take "several years" to complete the testing program
– Current prototype was designed by the Sukhoi design bureau
– Built at a plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, in Russia's Far East
– It will be delivered to the Russian Air Force from 2015 onwards
– Russian officials have already hailed the fighter as "a unique warplane" that combines the capabilities of an air superiority fighter and attack aircraft


Sukhoi T-50 is to undergo more than 2,000 flight tests before full-scale production starts, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Monday, 1 MAR 10. He also said now that Russia had a fifth-generation prototype fighter, it should start working on a new-generation long-range strategic bomber (PAK-DA) that he described as “an airborne missile-carrier”

– Tupolev aircraft maker said last year that a new-generation strategic bomber would be developed by 2017, while production should start in 2020 to 2025

– However, Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, commander of Russia's strategic aviation said a new strategic bomber, which would use stealth technology, was expected to enter service in 2025 to 2030

– New bomber will replace three aircraft currently in service with Russia's strategic aviation, the Tu-95MC Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers, introduced in 1956 and 1980, respectively, and Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bombers, which first flew in 1972.

Aircraft Sukhoi PAK-FA’s (T-50-1) First Flight on 29 JAN 10
“Today we’ve embarked on an extensive flight test program of the 5th generation fighter. This is a great success of both Russian science and design school. This achievement rests upon a cooperation team comprised of more than a hundred of our suppliers and strategic partners. PAK-FA program advances Russian aeronautics together with allied industries to an entirely new technological level. These aircraft, together with upgraded 4th generation fighters will define Russian Air Force potential for the next decades.

Sukhoi plans to further elaborate on the PAK FA program which will involve our Indian partners. I am strongly convinced that our joint project will excel its Western rivals in cost-effectiveness and will not only allow strengthening the defense power of Russian and Indian Air Forces, but also gain a significant share of the world market”, said Mikhail Pogosyan, Sukhoi Company Director General commenting on the launch of the flight test program.

• 47 minutes in the air and then landed on the aircraft factory runway
• 5th generation fighter is equipped with brandnew avionics suite integrating “electronic pilot” functionality, as well as advanced phased-array antenna radar
• This significantly decreases pilot load and allows him to focus upon completion of tactical missions
• New aircraft on-board equipment allows realtime data exchange not only with ground based control systems, but also within the flight group
• Composites application and innovative technologies, aerodynamics of the aircraft, measures applied to decrease the engine signature provide for the unprecedented small radar cross section in radar, optical and infrared range
• This significantly improves combat effectiveness against air and ground targets at any time of the day in both visible and instrument meteorological conditions.

Sukhoi PAK-FAT-50 Radar Complex SH121
NIIP displayed a full-scale model for the first time of an X-band nose-mounted Active Electronic Scanned Array (AESA) for the new PAK-FA (T-50) 5th generation multirole fighter program
– Designed for PAK-FA and Indian FGFA
– Offered for the mid-life upgrades of existing Su-35BMs, Su-30MKIs and Su-30MK2s
– Ready to equip up to 50 aircraft per year with radars

This will "no longer be just radar, but the integrated radio-electronic system, which includes radars in several wave bands, an identification system, electronic warfare (EW) and electronic intelligence (ELINT)", stated
NIIP's director Yuri Belyy in a media report on the system.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rolls-Royce Recent Developments Concerning F135 and F136 Engine

Pratt & Whitney says the “probable cause” of fan-blade damage during ground testing of the F135 engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was a worn bushing a part in the fan inlet case causing an aerodynamic disturbance that led to a piece of the tip of a first-stage fan blade breaking off.

A “minor modification” will be incorporated immediately in all initial service release (ISR) production engines “with little or no impact on cost and schedule,” the company said during a teleconference Sept. The blade tips will be clipped off at their trailing edges to remove the area susceptible to damage, a solution Pratt describes as “standard industry practice” Blade damage occurred 2,455 cycles into a 2,600-cycle durability test—at the equivalent of eight years of in-service operation and 5 hours into an 11-hour supersonic high-cycle fatigue test designed to excite vibration of the fan blades via throttle transients. Tear-down of the engine revealed all of the bushings were degraded.

The ISR engine for production F-35s has lighter “second-generation” integrally bladed rotors in the two-stage fan. F135s powering flight-test aircraft have a first-generation fan that has already passed durability testing, Pratt says. The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin have previously said no effect to flight testing was expected.


 General Electric/Rolls-Royce Offer for F136 Fixed-Price Contract

General Electric and Rolls Royce Sept. 1 pitched Pentagon officials on a plan under which the companies would sell the U.S. military F136 engines for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) through a fixed-price contract, Defense News has learned. Russ Sparks, GE Aviation’s vice president and general manager of military systems, and other GE and Rolls brass huddled this afternoon with Shay Assad, director of the defense
procurement, acquisition policy and strategic sourcing, and Marine Corps Maj. Gen. David Heinz, JSF program executive officer. Assad is a top adviser to Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter.

The companies presented Assad and Heinz with what Sparks called “a new business plan” for the F-35 alternative engine effort, under which GE and Rolls would sell the military more than 100 F136 units using a fixed-price, not cost-plus, contract for delivery between 2013 and 2015. Sparks said the proposal, which the companies have been discussing with the F-35 program office for several months, would pare the price tag and shift more risk on initial production engines to the GE-Rolls team.

He said cost estimates put the JSF’s main engine, being developed by Pratt & Whitney, nearly $2 billion over budget. GE-Rolls F136 officials say the fixed-price plan was hatched after the team studied the 2009 Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act, which calls for more competition through the entire life of major defense weapon programs.

Part of the GE and Rolls officials’ pitch for using a fixed-price contract is to allow the Pentagon “to show a greater return earlier” by inserting a new level of competition the lower price of the first 100 or so F136s - into the JEF engine effort. If the GE-Rolls engine initiative is kept alive long enough by the Pentagon and Congress, it is slated to enter a head-to-head competition with the Pratt & Whitney power plant in 2014.
The winner would be delivered to DoD in 2016.

Sparks said GE-Rolls F136 officials have concluded that the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s “issue is not with building a second engine - it’s with the current business case in a time of other pressures on the defense budget."We're going to give them a different view with a new business case based on a fixed-price contract,” Sparks said. “We are trying to align ourselves with the desires of both the administration and the Congress.”
President Barack Obama has singled out the alternative engine program as wasteful and unnecessary several times during public comments about finally bringing about Pentagon purchasing reforms.

But Sparks said the president and other administration officials also have endorsed using fixed-price contracts more often in place of cost-plus award fee deals, which routinely allow contracts to rake in millions or billions above the initial contract value when costly design changes are made. GE and Rolls officials hope that a switch to a fixed-price arrangement would keep alive the F136 program while allowing all sides to claim victory.


General Electric (GE) and Rolls-Royce have opened talks with U.S. defense officials on a fixed-price contract offer for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) alternative F136 engine that they hope will be a bellwether for the government’s acquisition reform goals by forcing a similar reaction from incumbent F135 engine supplier Pratt & Whitney (P&W). The contract plan, first revealed in Aviation Week, covers several options including a fixed price offer for around 100 engines in the low-rate initial production Lots 5 and 6. “What we finally offer will be led by the Pentagon,” says a GE spokesman, who adds the gambit is
designed to “force Pratt & Whitney’s hand. We’re hoping they’ll react with a fixed-price deal of their own.”

GE and Rolls-Royce say that should P&W respond in like manner, it will spark competition on costs ahead of the first Lot 7 buy originally scheduled to be openly contested between the F135 and F136 engines. “We think this could accelerate the whole program and generate savings well before 2016,” GE adds. Under initial acquisition plans, GE and Rolls-Royce claimed potential savings of up to 20 percent could be feasible, but only two years or so after Lot 7 was due to be contested in 2014.

The meetings, which took place on Sept. 1, included JSF program executive officer Marine Corps Maj. Gen. David Heinz, Shay Assad, director of the defense procurement, acquisition policy and strategic sourcing, and Russ Sparks, GE Aviation’s vice president and general manager of military systems. GE Rolls-Royce meanwhile acknowledges that the second F136 development engine, 625-005, is being inspected in Evendale, Ohio, after ingesting a test sensor. The engine, which had run for around eight hours when the incident occurred, had been “running well, and had reached maximum speed with zero problems,” the GE spokesman says. The engine was shut down “when a reading on one of the sensors went haywire,” he says.

U.S NAVY SEAL F-35C LIGHTNING AIRCRAFT SYSTEM BOMBER PROGRAM

Navy Carrier-Suitable Version (F-35C)

The Navy is procuring the F-35C, a carrier-suitable CTOL version of the aircraft. The F-35C is also known as the “CV” version of the F-35, as CV is the naval designation for aircraft carrier. The Navy in the future plans to operate carrier air wings featuring a strike fighter combination of F/A-18E/Fs (which the Navy has been procuring since FY1997) and F-35Cs. The F/A-18E/F is generally considered a fourth-generation strike-fighter. (Some F/A-18E/F supporters argue that it is a “fourth-plus” or “4.5”generation strike fighter because it incorporates some fifth-generation technology, particularly in its sensors.) In contrast to the Air Force, which has operated stealthy bombers and fighters for years, the F-35C is to be the Navy’s first considerably stealthy aircraft.

The F/A-18E/F incorporates a few stealth features, but the F-35C is stealthier. The F/A-18E/F is less expensive to procure than the F-35C. The Department of the Navy states that:

The F-35C carrier variant (CV) complements the F/A-18E/F Block II and EA-18G in providing survivable, long-range strike capability and persistence over the battlefield. The F-35 will give the ESG and CSG commanders a survivable “Day-One” strike capability in a denied access environment that can not be accomplished by current legacy aircraft.

Alternate Engine Program
The F-35 is powered by the Pratt and Whitney F135 engine, which was derived from the F-22’s Pratt and Whitney F119 engine. The F135 is produced in Pratt and Whitney’s facilities in East Hartford and Middletown, CT. Rolls-Royce is a subcontractor to Pratt and Whitney for the vertical lift system for the F-35B.

Consistent with congressional direction for the FY1996 defense budget (see Appendix A), DOD
established a program to develop an alternate engine for the F-35. The alternate engine, the F136,
is being developed by a team consisting of General Electric (GE) and Rolls-Royce. The team includes GE Transportation Aircraft Engines of Cincinnati, OH, and Rolls-Royce PLC of Bristol, England, and Indianapolis, IN. The F136 is a derivative of the F120 engine that was originally developed to compete with the F119 engine for the F-22 program.


A September 24, 2009, DOD information paper on the alternate engine program provided to CRS states the following:

• Pratt and Whitney has received a total of $7.3 billion in funding during the period FY1994-FY2009 for work relating to the F-35 program. This figure includes funding for work that was performed during the Concept Demonstration phase of the F-35 program for the Boeing concept for the JSF (a concept that was not selected for System Development and Demonstration [SDD]). The total of $7.3 billion includes $6.1 billion received during the period FY2002-FY2009 for F135 SDD work. The estimated cost of the F135 SDD contract increased from $4.8 billion at contract award in 2001 to $6.7 billion as of September 2009.
Approximately $0.8 billion of the increase is cost growth; the remaining $1.1 billion or so reflects an increase in the scope of work to be performed.

• The General Electric/Rolls-Royce team received a total of $2.4 billion during the period FY1995-FY2009. This total includes $1.7 billion for SDD work for the F136 engine during the period FY2005-FY2009. The F136 GE/Rolls-Royce team’s effort does not include design, development, test, and delivery of STOVL
Lift System components and exhaust systems, which are developed and provided under the F135 Pratt and Whitney SDD contract. The F136 SDD contract consequently includes fewer test hours and fewer ground test engines. In addition, since the F136 SDD flight qualification occurs later in the F-35 SDD program, fewer flight test engines would be needed.

DOD included the F-35 alternate program in its proposed budgets through FY2006, although Congress in certain years increased funding for the program above the requested amount and/or included bill and report language supporting the program. The George W. Bush administration proposed terminating the alternate engine program in FY2007, FY2008, and FY2009. Congress rejected these proposals and provided funding, bill language, and report language to continue the program.
The F-35 alternate engine program has emerged as a major item of debate on the FY2010 defense budget. The Obama administration opposes further funding for the alternate engine program and has threatened to veto the FY2010 defense authorization or appropriation bill if either “would seriously disrupt” the F-35 program. (See “Legislative Activity for FY2010.”) In the “Issues for Congress” section of this report, the alternate engine program is the first issue discussed. Appendix A presents details from the legislative history of the issue.

Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter

Produced for the July 28, 2009 roll-out ceremony for the first F-35C carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, this Lockheed Martin video includes a segment showing how the F-35C will look on the deck on a US Navy aircraft carrier when in enters servcie in 2015. The first F-35C, aircraft CF-1, is shown in the final stages of assembly and the video includes flight-test footage of the first F-35A, aircraft AA-1, and first F-35B, aircraft BF-1.

U.S AIRFORCE F-35A COMBAT SYSTEM WEAPONS AIRCRAFT

Air Force CTOL Version F-35A AirCraft

The Air Force is procuring the F-35A, a conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) version of the aircraft. F-35As are to replace Air Force F-16 fighters and A-10 attack aircraft. The F-35A is intended to be a more affordable complement to the Air Force’s new F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter. Compared to the F-22, the F-35A is not quite as stealthy7 and not as capable in air-to-air combat, but it is still very capable in both these areas, and is also very capable in air-to-ground combat. The F-35 is more stealthy and more capable in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat than the F-16. If the F-15/F-16 combination represented the Air Force’s earlier-generation “high-low” mix of air superiority fighters and more-affordable dual-role aircraft, the F-22/F-35A combination might be viewed as the Air Force’s intended future high-low mix of air superiority fighters and more-affordable dual-role aircraft. The Air Force states that:

Both the F-22A and the F-35 represent our latest generation of fighter aircraft. We need both aircraft to maintain the margin of superiority we have come to depend upon, the margin that has granted our forces in the air and on the ground freedom to maneuver and to attack. The F-22A and F-35 each possess unique, complementary, and essential capabilities that together provide the synergistic effects required to maintain that margin of superiority across the spectrum of conflict. The OSD-led 2006 QDR Joint Air Dominance study underscored that our Nation has a critical requirement to recapitalize TACAIR forces. Legacy 4th generation
aircraft simply cannot survive to operate and achieve the effects necessary to win in an integrated, anti-access environment.
  
F-35a Lightning Aircraft

U.S. Army Air Force F-35 Lightning II Flies High with Serena Dimensions

Hailed as the most complex, sophisticated, and technically advanced fighter ever to take flight, the F-35 Lightning II is being designed and built by the best engineers and developers in their field, spanning nine countries. The amount of computing power required to successfully accomplish its missions exceeds that of a typical aircraft several times over. Its communication system enables data sharing with other platforms in the air, at sea and on the ground through Web enabled logistics support developed via a new standard common across the nine countries involved in its development.


 And the F-35's Multi-Function Display System will give pilots six full-motion video images simultaneously with a display rate of one gigabyte per second, which is just one of the features making it the most advanced tactical display ever developed.

In a recent monthly report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England was quoted as saying, "The F-35 Lightning II will be the centerpiece of airpower in the 21st century for America and our allies." Challenge With a project span of 10 years and more than 1,000 software developers writing and testing the more than 19 million lines of code1 needed to support the aircraft's technological superiority, the Lightning II commands an equally robust and effective system to manage and enforce process in a collaborative and distributed group environment to keep the project within exact specifications.

Managing these processes within all International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) across the team of developers spanning many companies across nine countries is the mission of David Sopko, JSF Dimensions Architect at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. It's Sopko's job to ensure that the structural integrity, connectivity, security, and uses of the Lightning II's software development process management solution is
appropriate, enabling partners to collaborate and ensuring that the mission's software development processes are followed. Sopko is also charged with training users on the most effective use of the system.


According to Sopko, using custom reports in Dimensions has become a longstanding critical component
of configuration management, starting with previous fighter plane programs and continuing with the F-35 Lightning II today. “We find that the ability to create and use custom reports in Dimensions is essential to the way we do our configuration management in the JSF program,” Sopko said. “Over the years we have generated many different customized Dimensions reports that have become the backbone of our CM schema. Many of these reports were created in previous fighter programs but are still pertinent to the F-35 program.”

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), also called the Lighting II, is a new strike fighter being procured in different versions for the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. F-35 procurement began in FY2007. Current Department of Defense (DOD) plans call for acquiring a total of 2,456 JSFs for the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy at an estimated total acquisition cost (as of December 31, 2007) of about $246 billion in constant (i.e., inflation-adjusted) FY2009 dollars. The F-35 program is DOD’s largest weapon procurement program in terms of total estimated acquisition cost. Hundreds of additional F-35s are expected to be purchased by several U.S. allies, eight of which are cost-sharing partners in the program.

The administration’s proposed FY2010 defense budget requested a total of about $10.4 billion for the F-35 program, including about $3.6 billion in Air Force and Navy research and development funding and about $6.8 billion in Air Force and Navy procurement funding. (Development and procurement of Marine Corps aircraft are funded through the Navy’s budget.) The proposed FY2010 budget would fund the procurement of 10 F-35As for the Air Force, 16 F-35Bs for the Marine Corps, and four F-35Cs for the Navy.

The administration’s proposed FY2010 defense budget also proposed terminating the F-35 alternate engine program, which is intended to develop the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 engine as an alternative to the Pratt and Whitney F135 engine that currently powers the F-35. The George W. Bush administration proposed terminating the alternate engine program in FY2007, FY2008, and FY2009. Congress rejected these proposals and provided funding, bill language, and report language for the program’s continuation. The F-35 alternate engine program has emerged as a major item of debate on the FY2010 defense budget.

The Obama administration opposes further funding for the alternate engine program and has threatened to veto the FY2010 defense authorization or appropriation bill if either “would seriously disrupt” the F-35 program. The issues for Congress for FY2010 are whether to approve or reject the administration’s proposal to terminate the alternate engine program, and whether to approve, reject, or modify the administration’s overall funding request for the F-35 program. Congress’s decisions on these matters will affect DOD capabilities and funding requirements and the tactical aircraft manufacturing industrial base.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), also called the Lighting II, is a new strike fighter being procured in different versions for the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. F-35 procurement began in FY2007. Current Department of Defense (DOD) plans call for acquiring a total of 2,456 JSFs for the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy at an estimated total acquisition cost (as of December 31, 2007) of about $246 billion in constant (i.e., inflation-adjusted) FY2009 dollars. The F-35 program is DOD’s largest weapon procurement program in terms of total estimated acquisition cost. Hundreds of additional F-35s are expected to be purchased by several U.S. allies, eight of which are cost-sharing partners in the program.

The administration’s proposed FY2010 defense budget requested a total of about $10.4 billion for the F-35 program, including about $3.6 billion in Air Force and Navy research and development funding and about $6.8 billion in Air Force and Navy procurement funding. (Development and procurement of Marine Corps aircraft are funded through the Navy’s budget.) The proposed FY2010 budget would fund the procurement of 10 F-35As for the Air Force, 16 F-35Bs for the Marine Corps, and four F-35Cs for the Navy.

The U.S. Air Force Has Promoted The F-22 Raptor as Its Fighter

For decades, the U.S. Air Force has promoted the F-22 as its fighter for the 21st century. Advocates tout its technical features: fuel efficient, high speed “super-cruise,” advanced electronics, and reduced profile against enemy sensors, known as “stealth.” While those are popular amenities, the measures that really determine winning or losing in air combat have been overlooked by the Air Force. The F-22 fails to improve America’s fighter force and degrades our combat capability.

The F-22 is a mediocrity, at best, on requisites four and five, but it is a liability on points one, two and three. The first attribute is the most important pilot training and ability. Great pilots get to be great by constant dogfight training. Between 1975 and 1980, at the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Topgun), instructor pilots logged 40 to 60 hours of air combat maneuvering per month. Flying the cheap, simple F-5, the robustly trained instructors consistently whipped their students who flew the “more capable” F-4 Phantoms, F-14 Tomcats, and F-15 Eagles. Today, partly thanks to the pressure on the Air Force’s training budget from the F-22’s excessive costs, an F-22 pilot gets only 12 to 14 hours of flight training per month. For winning future air battles, this is a huge step backward.

The aircraft’s stealth ability only contributes to the inability of the F-22 to meet standards two and three. The F-22’s stealth requirement adds significant drag, weight and size. Size is the most damaging to the aircrafts ability. The F-22 is much bigger than most fighters, thus it will be detected first by the sensor most likely to be the determinative one eyeballs completely reversing the theoretical advantage of “stealth.” Topgun had a saying, “the biggest target in the sky is always the first to die.” And once a F-22 is seen, it will have trouble outmaneuvering the enemy because its weight hurts its ability to turn and accelerate. Notably, both the F-15A and F-16A out-turn and out-accelerate the F-22.

The most obvious disadvantage stealth brings and why the aircraft fails attribute three is the F-22s extraordinary cost; it grossly reduces the numbers the United States will buy. New Defense Department data
shows the total program unit cost of the F-22 has grown from about $130 million to over $350 million per aircraft. The result? The original request to buy 750 F-22s is now down to 185, thus the chances of outnumbering enemy aircraft are slim.

The Air Force will argue strenuously that we are wrong and the F-22 has excelled in air-to-air exercises
against all comers. However, our information is that these are “canned” engagements in which the F-22 is put
in scenarios set up to exploit the F-22’s theoretical advantages and exclude its real world vulnerabilities.
But there is a way to find out who is right: Conduct an unscripted test of F-22 capabilities by pitting it against
pilots and aircraft that the tiny F-22 inventory expects to meet in hostile skies.


We both would be delighted to observe any such realistic exercises. Nothing would please us more than
to find that we are wrong and American fighter pilots have been given the best fighter in the sky.