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Lockheed Martin F-35B being refueled  (Source: Lockheed Martin)
F-35B makes its first supersonic flight

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program has been plagued with cost overruns and missed deadlines. The price tag for the program has ballooned to much more than the DoD originally set aside for the aircraft.

Early this month, the DoD announced that the price tag for the JSF program could ultimately amount to $382 billion.

The aircraft are expected to be offered to participating countries for about $92.4 million each.

June has also been a month of milestones for the F-35 program with the F-35C variant of the JSF making its first flight. The F-35C is the carrier-based version of the JSF.

The F-35 JSF program has reached another milestone with the F-35B short take off and vertical landing version of the JSF breaking the sound barrier for the first time. The milestone puts the F-35B in the supersonic club alongside the F-35C and the F-35A that have already made their maiden supersonic flights.

The F-35B broke the sound barrier reaching Mach 1.07 or 727 miles per hour. The plan according to Lockheed Martin is to increase the supersonic flight speed on subsequent test flights until the aircraft's top speed of Mach 1.6 is reached.

"For the first time in military aviation history, supersonic, radar-evading stealth comes with short takeoff/vertical landing capability," said Bob Price, Lockheed Martin's F-35 U.S. Marine Corps program manager. "The supersonic F-35B can deploy from small ships and austere bases near front-line combat zones, greatly enhancing combat air support with higher sortie-generation rates." The F-35B will enter service for the Marines, the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and the Italian Air Force and Navy.

All F-35 JSF variants are designed to hold up to 3,000 pounds of munitions internally and to be able to launch all its weapons at maximum supersonic speed.
DefenseNews reports that the test flight took place at the offshore supersonic test track at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.



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Confusing Title
By tpb3470 on 6/15/2010 11:39:28 AM , Rating: 5
I thought the title of the article was "Lockheed Martin F-35B STOVL Breaks Sound Barrier" not "First I want to rip on the program for a few paragraphs, then report the news"




RE: Confusing Title
By FITCamaro on 6/15/2010 12:06:19 PM , Rating: 4
This surprises you?


RE: Confusing Title
By ksherman on 6/15/2010 12:14:10 PM , Rating: 5
No kidding, I would really love if DailyTech could move towards writing in the 'Inverted Pyramid' method.

For those that don't know, it's a journalistic style that places the newest, most pertinent information at the beginning, in the lede and first graf or so.

Then, as you move through the article, you bring more information that describes the background of what ever it is you are writing about.

This helps to order the article for shorter attention spans while still providing the details for those that are truly interested. As a journalist, you should not bury the new and crucial information in the middle of your article if at all possible.


RE: Confusing Title
By ksherman on 6/15/2010 12:15:24 PM , Rating: 5
Here is what I mean, in just a quick re-ordering of the information:

quote:
June has also been a month of milestones for the F-35 program with the F-35C variant of the JSF making its first flight. The F-35C is the carrier-based version of the JSF.

The F-35 JSF program has reached another milestone with the F-35B short take off and vertical landing version of the JSF breaking the sound barrier for the first time. The milestone puts the F-35B in the supersonic club alongside the F-35B and the F-35A that have already made their maiden supersonic flights.

The F-35B broke the sound barrier reaching Mach 1.07 or 727 miles per hour. The plan according to Lockheed Martin is to increase the supersonic flight speed on subsequent test flights until the aircraft's top speed of Mach 1.6 is reached.

"For the first time in military aviation history, supersonic, radar-evading stealth comes with short takeoff/vertical landing capability," said Bob Price, Lockheed Martin's F-35 U.S. Marine Corps program manager. "The supersonic F-35B can deploy from small ships and austere bases near front-line combat zones, greatly enhancing combat air support with higher sortie-generation rates." The F-35B will enter service for the Marines, the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and the Italian Air Force and Navy.

All F-35 JSF variants are designed to hold up to 3,000 pounds of munitions internally and to be able to launch all its weapons at maximum supersonic speed. DefenseNews reports that the test flight took place at the offshore supersonic test track at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program has been plagued with cost overruns and missed deadlines. The price tag for the program has ballooned to much more than the DoD originally set aside for the aircraft.

Early this month, the DoD announced that the price tag for the JSF program could ultimately amount to $382 billion.
The aircraft are expected to be offered to participating countries for about $92.4 million each.


RE: Confusing Title
By chartguy on 6/15/2010 1:51:00 PM , Rating: 3
"The milestone puts the F-35B in the supersonic club alongside the F-35B and the F-35A that have already made their maiden supersonic flights."

Obviously, they also lack proof readers.


RE: Confusing Title
By S3anister on 6/15/2010 6:06:21 PM , Rating: 5
What I find sad is that the first thing i did was scroll to the comments section, look for the fives, then read your post deciding it would probably be a more enjoyable read than the actual article.

/shrug


RE: Confusing Title
By Manch on 6/15/2010 12:30:59 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
As a journalist.....


HA! There in lies the problem. There are no journalists on DailyTech.


RE: Confusing Title
By mfenn on 6/15/2010 2:33:42 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but then the DT writers wouldn't be able to push their agenda as hard.


RE: Confusing Title
By CharonPDX on 6/15/2010 6:22:19 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sorry, your first paragraph didn't explain what you were talking about, so I stopped reading.

:-P


RE: Confusing Title
By ksherman on 6/15/2010 9:11:22 PM , Rating: 3
Sure it did! Then I added the anecdotal background information. If you already knew what the 'inverted pyramid' was, you could move on! :-D


RE: Confusing Title
By sweatshopking on 6/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Confusing Title
By ksherman on 6/15/2010 1:00:42 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, because it's better for an organization (news or anything else) to not improve themselves and create better content.


RE: Confusing Title
By rcc on 6/15/2010 2:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
Awww, did we get up on the wrong side of bed this morning??


RE: Confusing Title
By FITCamaro on 6/16/2010 6:36:22 AM , Rating: 2
Its $382 billion over about 30-40 years. I wish any government entitlement program were that cheap. Even at 30 years, that works out to about $12 billion a year. Hardly unreasonable considering we're getting an actual product.

Bet you don't blink an eye at Obama and his idiots spending tens, if not hundreds, of billions to "help" people.


RE: Confusing Title
By erple2 on 6/16/2010 10:33:20 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, but it's only one product and even then, it's a tiny fraction of the cost of doing government. Heck, I could even say that it's ludicrous considering this one small social program that affects one portion of the population only costs 30 billion over 10 years. That's far cheaper than that one program for buying a couple of airplanes.

Perhaps ultimately that's the problem. When taken out of context, anyone can make any point.

I'd wager the equivalent would be something like buying 10 pounds of apples of various types (granny smith, golden delicious, red delicious, braeburn, etc). Then claiming "victory" by saying that the granny smith apples were so cheap! Then complaining that the apples that had red in them cost way too much.

You can't compare the cost of one program for the DoD to an entire social program spenditure for the whole nation.

What you can claim (and criticize over) is that the JSF program has significant cost overruns that were not accounted for in the original budget, however. Perhaps that's the real story. Though to hide that with a "this jet is super-fast" attention grabbing title is kind of ... cheeky.

I don't really care (well, not too much - I hope that my elected representatives are keeping our collective best interest in mind when they look at budgets. And if they don't, I elect a different set of representatives, so they, too can not hold the best interests of the nation in mind) what the budget for something like the JSF is, as it's a ludicrous amount of money to me. What I care about is that the original cost estimates (and therefore the budget allocated to the program) has shown itself to be ludicrously off base. My irritation with that would be true with any program.

Or is the cost so high per aircraft because they're buying fewer than 1/2 of them (which I don't believe to be the case)?


RE: Confusing Title
By wiz220 on 6/15/10, Rating: 0
RE: Confusing Title
By ksherman on 6/15/2010 1:19:34 PM , Rating: 5
His point is that the title is about the VTOL' ability to go super-sonic, but that is not mentioned in the article until the 5th graf. That's all... Background information is great and necessary. But where is just as important!


RE: Confusing Title
By mgilbert on 6/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Confusing Title
By roadhog1974 on 6/15/2010 6:33:37 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if there is some blog minimum length.

The first half was just padding, which could have been a
link. Perhaps DT does not want 2 paragraph articles.


Never Realized
By metaltoiletry on 6/15/2010 11:22:00 AM , Rating: 2
Never realized before that the Harrier was a subsonic VTOL. I suppose this is some kind of achievement then.




RE: Never Realized
By quiksilvr on 6/15/2010 11:35:50 AM , Rating: 2
Hell yeah it is. I would consider the Harrier more of a transonic VTOL, though that's debatable.


RE: Never Realized
By MojoMan on 6/15/2010 11:36:37 AM , Rating: 2
We do air shows in our town all the time, and while the Harrier was cool to see, I remember thinking it was too bad it couldn't go super sonic. This is definitely a great achievement. I bet we'll see these used in more diverse situations than the F-22. I honestly think it will be more practical... Kind of like a work horse vs. a race horse. :-) Just my 2 cents.


RE: Never Realized
By xler8r on 6/15/2010 11:36:45 AM , Rating: 2
Just another part of slow, peace-time flight testing :)

Had we been at war with say... China or Russia, it would be interesting to see how quickly the JSF and Raptor's would have come to fruition and been in service.(Or if they would have at all... with something else taking their place).


RE: Never Realized
By corduroygt on 6/15/2010 1:12:14 PM , Rating: 3
That's because cost is no object when you're at war...


RE: Never Realized
By autoboy on 6/15/2010 7:23:27 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, I would argue that time is no object when you are at peace.

And Time = Money.

It would probably be cheaper during all out war since we wouldn't waste a whole bunch of time.


RE: Never Realized
By mmatis on 6/15/2010 12:23:44 PM , Rating: 2
Well actually, I expect that the Harrier can go supersonic. Although it probably couldn't pull up and land safely afterwards...


RE: Never Realized
By rcc on 6/15/2010 2:39:28 PM , Rating: 2
Down hill with a tail wind, but it can't maintain it in level flight.


RE: Never Realized
By Spookster on 6/15/2010 7:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
More like turtlesonic speed.


Swiss army knives
By chartguy on 6/15/2010 2:00:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"For the first time in military aviation history, supersonic, radar-evading stealth comes with short takeoff/vertical landing capability,"


This may define the issue. This version of the plane is trying to be a supersonic, stealth VSTOL fighter.

And to compound the issue, it's one of a handful of variations on the same design, each attempting to specialize, but sharing the same airframe.

In my experience, these multi-function tools tend to be both less effective at their functions and more expensive. Because the same airframe has to be used for all the variations, many design compromises must be made. The result is a bigger, heavier airframe than would be necessary for any of the jobs alone.

The F-16 was a very single purpose design. It works extremely well, and was much less expensive than most military aircraft. I'd call that the other end of the design spectrum. The right tool for the job.




RE: Swiss army knives
By gamerk2 on 6/15/2010 2:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
Theres a reason why the A-10 keeps getting its life extended: All its replacementes fail at low level attacks. They tried the F16, F18, and F15-E, and all never achieved the same level of successful attacks as the A-10.

What I fear most is the F-35 getting so hyped, we start mothballing aircraft that actually get the job done properly...

At the end of the day, you can make the F-35 a ground attack aircraft...for 6 bombs or so. The A-10 is a ground attack aircraft with a gattling gun that can physically STOP the aircraft in mid-flight. Which would you rather have for a run on a tank convoy? I find the idea of a Ground-attack capable fighter laughable at best.

The funny thing is, if we simply made a F-15 with romote-control ability, we'd get even better results. Fact is, the plane can outmanuver the pilot, so if we want better, faster, more agile planes, the obvious solution is to remove the weak link, the pilot, from the equation.


RE: Swiss army knives
By 91TTZ on 6/15/2010 4:24:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
At the end of the day, you can make the F-35 a ground attack aircraft...for 6 bombs or so. The A-10 is a ground attack aircraft with a gattling gun that can physically STOP the aircraft in mid-flight.


The gun on the A-10 cannot stop the aircraft in mid-flight.


RE: Swiss army knives
By HolgerDK on 6/15/2010 5:27:15 PM , Rating: 2
The Avenger gun on the A-10 cant stop the plane midair.

Its true that the gun excerts enough force to counter the force produced by the engines. But the gun doesnt hold enough bullets for continous fire to stop the plane - and the gunbarrels would probably melt from firing that many bullets if it was tested.


RE: Swiss army knives
By Danish1 on 6/15/2010 11:07:39 PM , Rating: 2
The 30mm gatling is just the icing on the A10 cake, its real strenght is that it takes considerably more than one lucky rifle bullet to down it unlike the F35 and the rest of the planes you mentioned.

I don't believe the F35 is meant to replace the A10 so it's kind of a moot point though.


RE: Swiss army knives
By FITCamaro on 6/16/2010 6:39:43 AM , Rating: 2
Actually it is planned to. Hopefully it doesn't happen because I agree, the A10 can't be replaced by a fighter jet. It is unmatched even today in the role it plays. Is it fast? No. Is it pretty? To me absolutely.

The thing is flying death for anyone in its crosshairs. If anything we need to build a new A10 to replace the old one.


RE: Swiss army knives
By P4iN on 6/16/2010 10:54:49 AM , Rating: 2
the A-10 can take so much damage...Ive seen pics of A10s without half of the rear wing, or with one engine out, or even pics of the front almost destroyed and thing still returns home... after delivering a punch...

A-10s were designed to counter masses of Soviet Armored Vehicles and Tanks rushing through Europe... if you see soviet invasion plans for Europe, A10s were in their top 10 most feared weapons of the west...

Since the cold war never went hot... we have seen A10s Supporting ground troops, alongside UAVS and choppers,
and UAVs are taking the ground support role to next level, with their 24 hour surveillance and attack modes...

USA will not face an enemy like the soviet union in the next 30+ years so prolly we wont see a new A10 soon...


RE: Swiss army knives
By Danish1 on 6/16/2010 12:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
For some reason replacing the A10 with F35s reminds of the brilliant vietnam era idea of completely replacing guns with missiles and we all know how that turned out.


First...Again?
By mjcutri on 6/15/2010 11:53:53 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
the F-35B short take off and vertical landing version of the JSF breaking the sound barrier for the first time. The milestone puts the F-35B in the supersonic club alongside the F-35B and the F-35A that have already made their maiden supersonic flights.


I think it was two F-35A that had broken the sound barrier previously, not a F-35B.

From the source article:
quote:
BF-2 is the third F-35 to achieve supersonic flight. Two F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variants also have broken the sound barrier.




RE: First...Again?
By inperfectdarkness on 6/15/2010 12:33:54 PM , Rating: 2
bingo. there is no such thing as a non STOVL F-35B. after sifting through the muck of this article; the real news is that the STOVL system & doors have proven capable of withstanding supersonic flight.

the next big hurdle will be to see if the can withstand high g-force maneuvers.


RE: First...Again?
By FITCamaro on 6/16/2010 6:40:33 AM , Rating: 2
He meant the F35-C. The carrier variant.


Wrong caption
By Warlock15th on 6/15/2010 1:53:33 PM , Rating: 2
Dunno if this was posted before but the caption for the picture says that F-35B is performing a vertical landing, but you can see that the doors for the forward fan are not open, and neither is the engine nozzle pointing downwards, it looks to me like that's a picture of an F-35 performing a conventional landing.




RE: Wrong caption
By Smartless on 6/15/2010 5:26:00 PM , Rating: 2
It's actually trying to use the latest in air-to-air combat called a Joust. Lol. Viva Atari.


WTF???
By mmatis on 6/15/2010 12:27:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The milestone puts the F-35B in the supersonic club alongside the F-35B and the F-35A that have already made their maiden supersonic flights.


So the F-35B is now alongside itself?




LOL @ photo and caption for photo
By bjacobson on 6/15/2010 1:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
Take a closer look--
"F-35B Making a Vertical Landing"

The exhaust is venting behind the plane. It is landing horizontally like all other planes.
When it's landing vertically, I believe it looks something more like this--
http://www.rcthai.net/webboard/download/file.php?i...




Austere? Ha ha HAAA!
By Shadowmaster625 on 6/15/2010 3:43:50 PM , Rating: 2
Well its not going to be an "austere base" if it has one of these crackhead contrived infernal machines tucked away inside of it.




Sup
By bhougha10 on 6/15/2010 6:28:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm actually impressed that there is still a comments section on this site with the beating that writes take here. I'm impressed that they would respond to a lot of the comments. Even though I think there is a lot of political spin on some of these articals, I still say good job to them.
Keep your minds open. :)




F-35
By Azsen on 6/16/2010 12:28:45 AM , Rating: 2
I don't understand the need for the B and C versions of this jet. Both can run on a carrier correct? Why not just have the C version. Do you really need a short-take off variant when you can just take off vertically?




pig
By skyyspam on 6/16/2010 6:12:14 AM , Rating: 2
This thing won't hit 1.6 without being slick and in a dive. Single-engine draggy piece of stealthy crap.




Italy buying the F35????
By vcolon on 6/16/2010 6:53:18 AM , Rating: 2
Wait a cotton pickin minute. Italy would be a potential recipient of the F35? Last I checked Italy was in financial dire straits following Greece close behind.




The worst part is...
By Klober on 6/16/2010 10:00:03 AM , Rating: 2
...we don't bat an eye at $382 billion spent on a single airplane out of our arsenal, yet a measly (by comparison) $10 billion spent on NASA to return to the moon is unacceptable.




Just wondering...
By jabber on 6/17/2010 6:15:19 PM , Rating: 2
.....have we reached the point whereby the kit is too expensive to make in any effective numbers and too expensive to actually risk in combat?

Just reminds me of the WW2 Tiger Tank commander saying that his tanks were far superior to the US Sherman. So much so that one of his Tigers was worth four Shermans.

However, he followed that comment with this important point "Unfortunately, the Americans always had five Shermans on the battlefield!".

Sometimes cheap and plentiful can be very effective.




Fallout anyone?
By DoeBoy on 6/15/2010 12:39:29 PM , Rating: 1
With all the 2012 hubbub going on this aircraft makes me think of those VTOL crazy looking aircraft from Fallout. Just wait when its all some big apocalypse we will see these bad boys VTOL from the underground base. HA!




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