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Lockheed Martin F-35B: Nighttime STOVL

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Lockheed Martin F-35B: Nighttime STOVL
[ Technology]

On August 14, the Lockheed-Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter landed its first nighttime vertical landing on the USS Wasp, an amphibious assault craft. During the second in a series of three planned developmental tests designed to put the F-35B through its paces for the Marines, the craft was flown in its first ever nighttime missions. The first test, the shipboard phase, was completed in October 2011.

The craft performed a short takeoff and vertical landing, or STOVL. The test pilot, Lt. Col. C.R. “Jimi” Clift, said that “It all went extremely well… Eight successful landings in one night, so we’re tracking favorably along the learning curve.” Lt. Col. Clift is a trained Harrier pilot, and is skilled in VTOL maneuvers.

The United States Marine Corps conducted a series of 18 day ship trials involving two F-35B fighters. The tests were intended to test the allowable wind envelope for launch and recovery of the craft, perform the first night missions at sea, and to evaluate mission systems and “the dynamic interface associated with aircraft operations on a moving flight deck.”

The ship was retrofitted to be able to handle the new fighter, with engineers working extensively to make the USS Wasp ready to carry the F-35B. A new coating was applied to make sure the flight deck could handle the heat, guide lights and sensors were moved around, and new equipment was installed allowing officers to monitor the environment and gather data on the new plane’s performance. The on-site team even reported performing an engine removal on one of the planes in record time to guarantee the crafts were ready for action.

The Marines anticipate that, following the third array of tests on the F-35B, the craft will be ready for deployment in 2015. By that time, the plane is expected to be certified for shipboard operations.

Watch the amazing footage of the landing for yourself here.

Lockheed Martin F-35B: Nighttime STOVL
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  • Another Guest (from Australia)

    My colleagues and myself (from the defence industry) have made very clear that the service will do all it can to scrap the failed F-35 for a pretty compelling reason:

    The F-35 JSF (Joke Still Flying) aircraft designs will not meet specification nor the operational requirements laid down in the JSF JORD (Joint Operational Requirements Document) by significant degrees, noting that these operational requirements and resulting specifications, themselves, were predicated on the capabilities of reference threats from an era past and subsequently subjected to the illogical and deeply flawed process known as CAIV (Cost As and Independent Variable).

    The designs of all three JSF variants are presenting with critical single points of failure while even the most basic elements of aircraft design (e.g. weight, volume, aerodynamics, structures, thermal management, electrical power, etc.) will almost certainly end up in what Engineers call “Coffin Corner”.

    In essence, the unethical Thana Marketing strategy is using to sell the JSF, along with the acquisition malpractice of concurrency in not only development, the production and testing but the actual designs of the JSF variants, themselves, have resulted in the JSF marketeers writing cheques that the aircraft designs and JSF Program cannot honour.

    “We must be able to project power in contested environments (A2/AD) and the Joint Strike Fighter is that machine.” Is a full of baloney by drinking too much Kool-Aid.

    We have rolled up our sleeves and found our way to get rid of this lemon for good. But all the comments from the critics have made it very clear that will be a good idea in the estimation of the Air Force.

    The more you trying to protect the F-35 and speeding the process of the failed programme the worse off the United States and the allies are by eroding the air power which will make the western nations totally ineffective in the next 30 to 40 years.

  • Another Guest (from Australia)

    The F-35 will be inadequate to deal with the anti-access & area denial high threat environment which has shown that the aircraft has a lot of limitations and it cannot do a lot of things as expected to show and promise that is a true fifth generation fighter, because it’ll never meet all the requirements of partner nations.

    The F-35 was defined during the mid-1990s to have “affordable” aerodynamic performance, stealth performance, sensor capabilities and weapons loads to be “affordably” effective against the most common threat systems of that era past – legacy Soviet Cold War era weapons, not for the 21st Century emerging anti-access & area denial high threats. The F-35 is designed primarily to support ground forces on the battlefield with some self defence capabilities and is not suitable for the developing regional environment and, not suitable for close air support missions. The aircraft is unsuited for air superiority, bomber and cruise missile defence due to limited range/endurance/agility, limited weapons load and limited supersonic speed. As its limitations are inherent to the design, they cannot be altered by incremental upgrades. The F-35 will be ineffective against the current generation of extremely powerful advanced Russian and Chinese systems, as detailed above; In any combat engagements between the F-35 and such threat systems, most or all F-35 aircraft will be rapidly lost to enemy fire.

    If you have the F-35s that just aren’t capable of dealing with the anti access & area denial threat zones, it just doesn’t do you any good of going ahead with the failed program and sink the money. Because the F-35 will be increasingly expensive aircraft that will fail the air defence program.

    “Why will the F-35 fail the requirement? It has the ability to penetrate heavily defended airspace and hold targets of interest at risk any time you want to. That’s what the F-35 can do because it’s stealthy”.

    Well unfortunately there’s absolutely no point of selecting the F-35 because some hostile nations could well be purchasing the Nebo M Mobile “Counter Stealth” Radar, advanced S-400 and S-500 SAM systems which will make the F-35 obsolete.

    If anyone wants to find out more about this counter stealth radar, here’s a description if you’re interested.

    Development initiated late 1990s leveraging experience in Nebo SVU VHF-Band AESA radar;

    2012-2013 IOC intended;

    Designed from the outset to detect stealth fighters and provide early warning and track data to missile batteries and fighters;

    The VHF component will provide a significant detection and tracking capability against fighter and UCAV sized stealth targets;

    High off-road capability permits placement well away from built up areas, enabling concealment;

    Rapid deploy and stow times permit evasion of air attacks by frequent movement, defeats cruise missiles like JASSM;

    Initial Nebo M builds for Russian Air Defence Forces, but expected like other “counter-stealth” radars to be marketed for global export to arbitrary clientele.

    The VHF band element in that radar will detect the F-35 at a distance of tens of miles. That is without a doubt. What that means is that the aircraft is going to be in great difficulty if it tries to deal with what I call a modern or contemporary threat. The same is also true when you deal with these newer stealth fighters, because they are designed to compete with the F-22. They fly higher; they are faster and more agile—much, much more agile. They have more powerful radars and much, much better antenna packages for other sensors. The F-35 is not meeting its specifications and its specifications are inadequate to deal with the changed environment.

    If the F-35 was to be able to meet its specifications, the aircraft will have the ability of going up against a 1980s Soviet air defence system of the type that we saw destroyed very effectively in Libya last year, the F-35 would be reasonably be effective in that environment, because these older Soviet radars would not see it.
    But if you are putting F-35 up against the newer generation of much, much more powerful Russian radars and some of the newer Chinese radars, the aircraft is quite detectable, especially from behind, the upper side and from the lower sides as well.

    Also F-35 will also be detected by the L-Band AESA. It is used for targetting which they’ll be able to track LO/VLO stealth planes such as the F-35 especially from behind, the upper side and from the lower sides as well. Unfortunately the exhaust nozzle of the F-35 will be extremely hot. The back end of the F-35 in full afterburner is something like 1600 degrees (Fahrenheit). In terms of temperature, aluminum combusts at 1100. You are talking about something really, really hot. If you have got a dirty big sensor on the front of your Su-35S or your PAK-FA or whatever, it lights up like Christmas lights and there is nothing you can do about it. And the plume, because of the symmetric exhaust, is all over the place. It is not shielded, it is not ducted in any useful way. The Sukhois will be able to seek and destroy the F-35 when using the heat seeking BVR AA-12 (R-77) Adder AAMs.

    The APG-81 AESA radar. The nose geometry of the F-35 limits the aperture of the radar. This makes the F-35 dependent on supporting AEW&C aircraft which are themselves vulnerable to long range anti-radiation missiles and jamming. Opposing Sukhoi aircraft have a massive radar aperture enabling them to detect and attack at an JSF long before the JSF can detect the Sukhoi. It has Medium Power Aperture (0) (Detection range around 140 – 150 nm at BVR)

    Compared to which other aircraft’s radar?

    The N011 Irbis-E (Snow Leopard) for the Su-35S Super Flanker-E

    NIIP claims a detection range for a closing 32.3 square feet (3 square metre) coaltitude target of 190 – 250 NMI (350-400 km), and the ability to detect a stealthy aircraft while closing 0.11 square feet (0.01 square metre) target at ~50 NMI (90 km). In Track While Scan (TWS) mode the radar can handle 30 targets simultaneously, and provide guidance for two simultaneous shots using a semi-active missile like the R-27 series, or eight simultaneous shots using an active missile like the RVV-AE/R-77 or ramjet RVV-AE-PD/R-77M.

    The PAK-FA will feature the N050 BRLS IRBIS AFAR/AESA?, similar to the Su-35S N011.
    * Frequency: X-Band (8 – 12 GHz)
    * Diameter: 2 ft 4 in (0.7 m)
    * Targets: 32 tracked, 8 engaged
    * Range: 250 nmi (400 km)
    EPR: 32.3 ft; (3 m): 86.3 nmi (160 km) and 0.11 sq.ft (0.01 sq.m) target at ~50 nmi (90 km)
    Azimuth: +/-70°, +90/-50°
    * Power: 4,000 W
    * Weight: 143 to 176 lb (65 to 80 kg)

    Again, the F-35 will be detectable from behind the fuselage, the upper side and from the lower sides as well, except for the front area, a conservative estimate for the frontal RCS of the F-35 would be 0.0015 square metre which is only stealthy in the front, this is what I call “Partial Stealth” which the F-35 does have. Because if the situation arises, the Sukhoi family of fighters, upcoming J-20 or J-60 can out-run, out-climb and out-manoeuvre, and be able to track the F-35 using L-band AESA, IRST sensor (from the upper and lower sides and aft fuselage) and launch their AAMs from any altitude at speed etc.

    The bad news is, with the changed environment the F-35 will be obsolete when the aircraft arrives in 2018 or later, the US as well the allies are armed with this aircraft will make their air power totally ineffective in the next 30 to 40 years. I’m complaining about Lockheed Martin lying and misleading to the military and the public what they state their facts what the F-35 can do etc. And I don’t see any contradiction with the way I’ve promoted these new Russian/Chinese radars etc.

    Stay well away from Lockheed’s inferior, overpriced and unproven products like the failed F-35 programme. They don’t deserve to support and give business from allied nations. It is just another spin. The price tag of the F-35 will keep continuing to increase to more than $396 billion, it will never be reduced, despite the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have agreed on the terms of a deal for the Defence Department to buy two lots of F-35s for $7 billion.

    Only a mindless idiot would sign up to buy the turkey which is a massively overpriced jet with full of junk that flies like an elephant.

    If I were the defence minister for my country (Australia) doing the defence acquisitions, if Lockheed makes me or wants me to participate the lemon F-35 programme for the RAAF’s fighter/strike force. You know what I’m going to do with it, I will shove these aircraft to the AMARC to see them get shredded into pieces and burn their paperwork as a cancellation.

  • Another Guest (from Australia)

    Stay well away from Lockheed’s inferior, overpriced and unproven products like the failed F-35 programme. They don’t deserve to support and give business from allied nations. It is just another spin. The price tag of the F-35 will keep continuing to increase to more than $396 billion, it will never be reduced, despite the Pentagon and Lockheed have agreed on the terms of a deal for the Defence Department to buy two lots of F-35s for $7 billion.

    Only a mindless idiot would sign up to buy the turkey which is a massively overpriced jet with full of junk that flies like an elephant.

    If I were the defence minister for my country (Australia) doing the defence acquisitions, if Lockheed makes me or wants me to participate the lemon F-35 programme for the RAAF’s fighter/strike force. You know what I’m going to do with it, I will send these aircraft to AMARC and see them get shredded into pieces and burn the F-35 paperwork.

  • Another Guest (from Australia)

    Dear Bennett Rieser,

    If you want to know why the F-35 can’t cut it onto the modern battlefield.

    http://www.ausairpower.net/jsf.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v… – The F-35: A Citizens’ Hearing May 30th, 2013 by Pierre Sprey

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v… – Why the F-35 is a lemon Pierre Sprey (Runaway Fighter) Fifth Estate Extended in Interview.

    • Bennett Rieser

      I was told by close friends in the U.S. military, and those who are more aviation-minded than myself, that the plane is hardly up to scratch and any implication of such is laughable. Other friends, unrelated but who have family members in the Air Force and Navy, laughed at me when I told my story of the USMC’s night time short take off and vertical landing. It became clear to me that there were issues with the plane beyond the bragging of the Corps. You’re preaching to the choir in this area, mate; I just report the news.

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