backtop


Print 27 comment(s) - last by inperfectdarkn.. on Mar 1 at 7:22 AM


F-35C maiden flight  (Source: Lockheed Martin)
Maiden flight lasted about an hour

The F-35 Lightning II is one of the most ambitious and most expensive aircraft platforms that has ever entered development by the U.S. military. To help offset some of the costs to develop and build the F-35, the U.S. entered into agreements with partner nations that would allow the nations to buy the aircraft and share some of the costs of the program.

There have been some significant issues with the program that have put the F-35 behind schedule in some instances and run costs up. However, Lockheed Martin has announced that the aircraft has hit a milestone this month with the first flight of a production F-35 taking place on February 25. The production aircraft is an F-35A, which is the conventional take off and landing version of the fighter.

“The aircraft was rock-solid from takeoff to landing, and successfully completed all the tests we put it through during the flight,” said Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Bill Gigliotti. “The Air Force is getting a great jet that represents a huge leap in capability, and we’re looking forward to getting it into the hands of the service pilots in just a few more weeks.”

Test pilot Bill Gigliotti’s test flight lasted about an hour (the aircraft took off from the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base at 3:05pm and landed at 4:05pm). Lockheed Martin notes that the jet will continue testing in Fort Worth for another month before the Air Force accepts the aircraft.

The most trouble prone of the F-35 variants is the F-35B STOVL aircraft. In January of 2011, the F-35B completed five vertical landings bringing the aircraft closer to its goal of being delivered to the Marine Corps this year. The carrier version of the F-35, dubbed the F-35C, is should be delivered to the Navy starting in 2012.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Pretty sad
By FITCamaro on 2/28/2011 12:58:35 PM , Rating: 2
That I just got a better view looking at how the external aircraft is externally cooled from the picture in this article than in the year and a half of working on a F35 program.




Its a shame
By AssBall on 2/28/11, Rating: -1
RE: Its a shame
By Connoisseur on 2/28/2011 11:06:21 AM , Rating: 4
Nerfing engines? Didn't they just say they would stick to only one type of engine for the aircraft (as opposed to two)? Unless the canned engine has superior capabilities to the production version, I don't see how this is considered nerfing. In fact, this seems to make quite a bit of sense...


RE: Its a shame
By omnicronx on 2/28/2011 11:21:13 AM , Rating: 3
Considering the single engine F35 produces more thrust than pretty much any dual engine aircraft in production, I really don't see the issue.

Lower costs, lower maintenance, and makes it far better suited for multi use purposes.

If safety is a concern, well then the F16 (single engine) still has a slightly better track record than the F18 (dual engine) according to the US Government.


RE: Its a shame
By quiksilvr on 2/28/2011 11:24:51 AM , Rating: 2
I think the primary concern was safety. If one of the engines failed, you still had the other one to get you home. But in single engine scenarios, that eject button will be used a bit more liberally.

Yes this is a very rare scenario, but it was one of the main factors that debated the decision.


RE: Its a shame
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 2/28/11, Rating: -1
RE: Its a shame
By omnicronx on 2/28/2011 11:43:39 AM , Rating: 2
As stated, while they are obviously of two different designs and the F-16 is a bit more mature, it still has a better safety track record than the dual engine F18.

The differences between dual and single engines in terms of safety has also diminished over the years.

The only scenario where I would be a bit weary is sea (i.e carrier) landings. Can't remember the last time the navy utilized single engine aircraft for the majority of their fleet.


RE: Its a shame
By theapparition on 2/28/2011 11:55:23 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I know the F35s are slated to replace the F18s.

But not certain if it's fair to compare an Air Force F16, which deploys from fixed airstrips, with a larger complement of ground support and maintenance, to a Navy F18, which undergoes much harsher enviromental conditions and has to endure multiple cataplut launches and trip wire landings.

Not passing any judgement, but it doesn't seem like a fair comparison. Perhaps a better comparison would be F15 to F16. Any data on that?


RE: Its a shame
By omnicronx on 2/28/2011 12:15:45 PM , Rating: 2
Ya I was thinking about that right after I posted the last paragraph. Carrier duty will surely result in more wear and tear which the F-16 was hardly subject too.

Not too sure what kind of comparison you can make with the F/15 though, considering it serves a completely different purpose than the F/16. While the F/16 is not really used for sea missions, the F-18 certainly does stack up far better in terms of air to air.

That said, if memory serves the F-15 has a slightly better trackrecord, though there are so many variants I'm not sure if that is a valid comparison.


RE: Its a shame
By gamerk2 on 2/28/2011 12:55:02 PM , Rating: 2
I will say this: There is a reason why the USN has been resistent to using single-engine aircraft, hence why they developed the YF-17 into the F-18 in the first place.


RE: Its a shame
By StuckMojo on 2/28/2011 2:35:08 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't you watch top gun? The f/16 launches from carriers ;)


RE: Its a shame
By soydios on 2/28/2011 9:24:52 PM , Rating: 2
That was the F-14


RE: Its a shame
By Azethoth on 3/1/2011 5:44:05 AM , Rating: 2
Queue "Highway to the Danger Zone".


RE: Its a shame
By inperfectdarkness on 3/1/2011 7:22:05 AM , Rating: 2
the a-7 corsair wasn't that long ago.


RE: Its a shame
By MrBlastman on 2/28/2011 11:40:15 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Considering the single engine F35 produces more thrust than pretty much any dual engine aircraft in production, I really don't see the issue.


We don't exactly know _what_ the thrust will be for sure, those numbers are totally classified. From what I can find though, it will be at the top end around 40,000 lbs thrust with burners engaged. That's not even close to exceeding even the F-15 @ Full burn (which is over 50,000 lbs). You can't just look at the thrust a plane's engine produces and say whether it is enough, or a good plane.

You have to look at things such as thrust-to-weight ratio and wing loading, etc. From what I can tell, with what they want the F-35 to carry, it is underpowered. IF something were to manage to launch a missile at it from the ground, it will from what I can tell, have to dump ordinance in order to be able to do anything seriously evasive. Of course, the F-16 has to as well in many cases because it is limited to how much g-loading it can put on its wings when carrying a full load (this is what the CAT I/III override switch is for but using it improperly can cost you airframe damage).

This is one of many reasons why some of us wanted a bigger, better engine. Alas, we won't get one now but perhaps later, there will be one like they did in the F-16 (I'm pretty sure if the program lasts, there eventually will be one).

The one thing that really bothers me though about the F-35 is the lack of a "dome" canopy--the pilot doesn't have a true 360 degree view. Now, people will say, it is a "next gen fighter," it will conduct all operations versus enemy aircraft BVR. I argue this is _not_ true, given that the F-35 is a strike aircraft, will be sent in deep behind enemy lines beyond the FLOT in a hypothetical situation, it is slower, it _will_ inevitably face a close-in combat situation. The lack of rear visibility I feel could prove to be a detriment to the plane. There's no substitute for real eyeballs on the sky.


RE: Its a shame
By omnicronx on 2/28/2011 11:59:55 AM , Rating: 2
While I can't disagree with most of what you have stated, I don't really agree its underpowered. The F-35 serves its purpose, expandable and cost effective (to a degree). (though I have heard many complain about the 360 view, especially pilots)

Its the F22 seems like it is better suited to truly replace specific capabilities of planes such as the F-15. (ex. Range, Payload)..

Allied nations may have a reason to be concerned, but it seems like the right move for the US in the long run. (especially with advancements in unmanned craft such as UAV's)


RE: Its a shame
By JakLee on 2/28/2011 12:09:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There's no substitute for real eyeballs on the sky.


Not today maybe - but tomorrow????
_http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/bionics/augmen...


RE: Its a shame
By MrBlastman on 2/28/2011 4:19:18 PM , Rating: 2
That's a great article, thanks for the link. :)

The only downside with that method is contacts are not allowed to be worn by fighter pilots, both in the Air Force or the Navy as far as I know.


RE: Its a shame
By Redwin on 2/28/2011 12:20:49 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Considering the single engine F35 produces more thrust than pretty much any dual engine aircraft in production, I really don't see the issue. Lower costs, lower maintenance, and makes it far better suited for multi use purposes. If safety is a concern, well then the F16 (single engine) still has a slightly better track record than the F18 (dual engine) according to the US Government.


... you do understand that the issue is NOT whether to make the F35 a single engine or dual engine aircraft... Its a single engine plane, and changing that would take a total redesign of the jet.

The issue is whether we should have 1 engine (The Pratt & Whitney F135) that will be used in all F-35's or if we should fund design and production of an alternative engine (General Electric / Rolls-Royce F136) purely so that the aircraft's "customers" (our various services, and the other contributing countries military's) can CHOOSE which engine to get in their F-35's.

Neither engine is capable of super-cruising like the F-22 can, and they seem to have similar capabilities. The F135 is definitely being used either way, and is already completed. Funding for the F136 has been continuing at the expense of other parts of the program. GE claims the F136 will maintain lower temperatures during VTOL operations at high altitudes than the F135, and so is needed for that F-35B, and so we should fund it. Congress recently disagreed, and they were probably right to do so.

Building 2 engines with VERY similar performance characteristics at twice the price just so you can say you have an option and funnel some money to your favorite defense contractor in whatever congressional district is not good government.


RE: Its a shame
By Einy0 on 2/28/2011 1:43:26 PM , Rating: 2
Comparing an F18 to an F16 is a little ambiguous as carrier based aircraft are going to have more abuse based on their primary environment. A fairer comparison would more likely be made with an F-15 of the same vintage.


RE: Its a shame
By AssBall on 2/28/2011 1:27:12 PM , Rating: 2
I meant nerfing engines in the plural sense regarding the fleet, not the singular aircraft.


RE: Its a shame
By AssBall on 2/28/2011 12:01:42 PM , Rating: 3
You downraters missed the point. The original design called for better engines, better stealth, better electronics, and originally called for 3000+ to be built. The program is also now delayed and stretched too thin to be remotely economically feasible.

Everyone dumped their orders and so of course the ratio of development and testing costs to production skyrockets, not to mention all of the corner cutting in the design. If I was Lockheed Martin I would be frustrated, because it was going to be such an awesome new aircraft.


RE: Its a shame
By omnicronx on 2/28/2011 12:22:46 PM , Rating: 2
It was not feasible to do what you are saying in my opinion. If you think the program is stretched to thin now, just imagine how much orders would have been lost and how much it would have been delayed had they gone the route of the F-22. (which was one of the reasons they shifted their direction as costs started to rise)

The US has little to worry about here, they will have their mass produced fighter with the F-35 and its variants, and complete air superiority with the F-22.

Its the allied nations buying these planes that have something to complain about.


RE: Its a shame
By AssBall on 2/28/2011 12:47:57 PM , Rating: 1
The allied nations all cut their orders too. The recession and our new dare I say money wasting pussy government killz0red the whole original idea, which was a decent idea but maybe you are right and it did have an unrealistic price tag.


RE: Its a shame
By gamerk2 on 2/28/2011 12:58:08 PM , Rating: 2
Frankly, it should be interesting to see where Europe goes for its jets. The Eurofighter is still competitive, the and JAS-39 could be the best all around aircraft out there right now, at the cheapest price to boot.

It really comes down to this: would you rather have 3 upgraded F-16's, or a single JSF?


RE: Its a shame
By AssBall on 2/28/2011 1:19:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It really comes down to this: would you rather have 3 upgraded F-16's, or a single JSF?


It depends on what you think you need to offend or defend against. If you are Saudi Arabia or Israel then the F-16's make more sense because its a better show of power in quantity vs their enemies and rivals' 12 pitiful old broken down shoddily trained piloted MIGs.

On the other hand if you are a nuclear armed nation, the F-35 is a more effective killing tool instead of a relic air show toy, and the smarter move.


RE: Its a shame
By SunTzu on 3/1/2011 4:59:58 AM , Rating: 2
+1 for Sweden ;)

The JAS has had a tough time getting sold due to US/F35 political pressure though, noone wants to be the first to buy the big batch.


"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki