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  (Source: wikimedia.org)
Reducing the aircraft's weight by 11 pounds has made it more vulnerable

An attempt at cutting the weight of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has made it more vulnerable to lightning and enemy attacks, says a new report.

The report, conducted by the Pentagon's Operational Test and Evaluation office (OT&E), found that shedding a few pounds from Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (also known as Lightning II) has made the aircraft 25 percent more vulnerable in certain dangerous situations.

The Lightning II lost two safety features in 2008, including the PAO shutoff valve and the fueldraulic system. The PAO shutoff valve weighed 2 pounds and the fueldraulic system weighed 9 pounds, bringing the grand total to an 11 pound weight loss.

However, the new report from OT&E suggests that getting rid of the PAO shutoff valve could lead to a rupture below the cockpit and ridding the fueldraulic system increases the chance of a sustained fire if exposed.

Test flights found that the Lightning II cannot be within 25 miles of known lightning conditions due to a poor design of the On-Board Intert Gas Generating System. This feature makes sure there are correct oxygen levels in the fuel tank.

“The program’s most recent vulnerability assessment showed that the removal of fueldraulic fuses, the PAO shutoff valve and the dry bay fire suppression, also removed in 2008, results in the F-35 not meeting the Operational Requirements Document (ORD) requirement to have a vulnerability posture better than analogous legacy aircraft,” officials wrote in the report.

The report also found cracks in the F-35A's right wing and right engine as well as the F-35B's bulkhead flange.

“Lockheed Martin believes the program is demonstrating exceptional stability, certainly significantly greater than any legacy aircraft development program, which is a primary measure for DT&E,” said Laura Siebert, a Lockheed spokeswoman. “Each year, as issues are discovered in test, our flight test team identifies additional test objectives that can be accomplished while we resolve the issues discovered.

“From an Operational Test and Evaluation perspective, we fully expect to deliver a qualified product to OT&E as scheduled. We appreciate the feedback from the OT&E community on what remains to be demonstrated over the next three years leading up to the OT&E phase of the program."

Last March, it was announced that the lifetime cost of the Lightning II is $1.45 trillion.



Source: Defense News



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RE: Boodoggle
By BrgMx5 on 1/16/2013 5:20:20 AM , Rating: 3
Only if it stays airborne long enough to fire


RE: Boodoggle
By Azethoth on 1/17/2013 1:59:27 AM , Rating: 3
This is all irrelevant. P51: $40,000, F35 $200,000,000
So can that 1 F35 take down 5,000 P51s?

I am gonna go with no. The swarm of Mustangs follow it back to base losing a few, then strafe it back to the stone age.


RE: Boodoggle
By inperfectdarkness on 1/17/2013 6:45:40 AM , Rating: 3
And if you can convince the american public to subscribe to Imperial Empire TIE swarm tactics, then I'm ok with that.

Just one question though: How much does it cost to keep 5,000 pilots on the USAF roster? How much do you have to pay them to get them to willingly fly into harms way with pre-Gen1 aircraft (i.e. cannon fodder for a bloody mig15)?

We've lost far less servicemembers in ALL branches--combined--since 1975...than we lost in Vietnam. And in spite of that, the USA is completely intolerant of the death-toll.

Somehow, I don't think treating military members like bantha fodder will go over swimmingly when the coffins start arriving.


RE: Boodoggle
By bug77 on 1/17/2013 10:29:30 AM , Rating: 2
If need arises, this worked for the Russians during WWII. Americans weren't far behind, opposing 4-5 Shermans to each Tiger.

Yes, today the US has the luxury of being able to minimize casualties and they should do so while they can. But under some circumstances, swarm tactics can be an (only?) effective choice.

Fwiw, I do not advocate swarm tactics (personally I think the Russians were better off _not_ sending millions to their death), I'm just pointing out that it did happen in recent history.


RE: Boodoggle
By EricMartello on 1/18/2013 6:20:09 PM , Rating: 1
You could modernize the P51's original design similar to what the airplane racers do with these planes. They're still subsonic but a lot faster and aerobatic than a "stock" P51 was back in WW2.

You could also equip the P51's with modern weaponry and avionics so I think that a fight between a F35 and P51 could have odds than one may initially assume. The P51 can fly a lot slower than the F35 without stalling - something that could be used tactically since the F35 would need to keep looping around and making "passes" at the P51, leaving itself vulnerable attack as it approaches for each pass.

I would say that a fleet of cheaper, less complex, easy to maintain and more reliable planes would be better for our airforce than a high-tech, high-maintenance "diva" plane that will throw a hissy-fit if there's a 3 degree variance in air temperature.

What needs to be highlighted here is that Lockheed could very well design a simple, effective and affordable plane but it is not in their interests to do so. The longer they drag it out and the more complex they make it allows them to use these 'unexpected snafus' as a means to bilk more taxpayer money into their coffers.

The reality is that if they got it right the first time around - which they could have - then it is highly likely that there would not be any funding approval for new government projects...so instead they just milk it slow and steady to keep the cash flowing.


RE: Boodoggle
By inperfectdarkness on 1/19/2013 2:37:03 PM , Rating: 2
You know nothing of air-air dogfighting. You put the most "modernized p-51 up against a lowly F-16, and the P-51 would still be a smoking fireball before visual contact is established.

Guess what? Once you slap RWR, AESA radar, AMRAAM's, Sidewinders, and a whole bunch of other "modern" stuff on a P-51, you are left with a plane that can't handle the demands with a lowly prop engine. Worse, you'd have to completely re-design the fuselage to put radar in the nose (where the merlin engine sits traditionally).

Give it up. Even without missiles, the Mig-15 was mopping the floor with the P-51, and that was just a difference of jet vs. prop. Insinuating that ANY pre-4th gen aircraft could potentially serve as the backbone of the USAF fleet is simply laughable.


RE: Boodoggle
By EricMartello on 1/20/2013 3:16:00 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
You know nothing of air-air dogfighting. You put the most "modernized p-51 up against a lowly F-16, and the P-51 would still be a smoking fireball before visual contact is established.


The price to plane ratio will be in the P51's favor so for every lowly F16 you will have 3-5 or more upgraded P51s.

quote:
Guess what? Once you slap RWR, AESA radar, AMRAAM's, Sidewinders, and a whole bunch of other "modern" stuff on a P-51, you are left with a plane that can't handle the demands with a lowly prop engine.


Replacing the piston engine with a turboshaft engine has not been written off. That would give it a lot more power, lighten it up and also make more room.

quote:
Worse, you'd have to completely re-design the fuselage to put radar in the nose (where the merlin engine sits traditionally).


I'd probably equip the P51 with a directional EMP pulse generator for starters. I would not load it up with a bunch of crap; just some essentials like guided air-to-air missles, machine guns and some defensive features like a chaff dispenser.

quote:
Give it up. Even without missiles, the Mig-15 was mopping the floor with the P-51, and that was just a difference of jet vs. prop. Insinuating that ANY pre-4th gen aircraft could potentially serve as the backbone of the USAF fleet is simply laughable.


Sure, but we're talking about an upgraded P51 which would be stronger, lighter and faster than the original WW2 era P51s.

And did I say that we should replace the USAF with WW2 era planes or was I simply making a point that applying occam's razor to military aircraft design would be better than the overly complex and expensive F35.


RE: Boodoggle
By inperfectdarkness on 1/22/2013 4:05:04 PM , Rating: 2
"directional EMP pulse generator".

ROFL. ok, let me know how that works out for you. as of yet, no military in the world has successfully created a version of that which would work at ranges in the air-air realm sufficient to outperform a cannon, let alone a missile.

translation:

p51 > f35 *if we throw out the laws of physics and dispense with reality.


RE: Boodoggle
By EricMartello on 1/23/2013 12:45:28 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
"directional EMP pulse generator".

ROFL. ok, let me know how that works out for you. as of yet, no military in the world has successfully created a version of that which would work at ranges in the air-air realm sufficient to outperform a cannon, let alone a missile.


You keep assuming it's 1v1 - it's not. It would be one F16 or F35 vs 3-5 upgraded P51s. With the right strategy the "weaker" P51s could leverage their numbers to take out the modern plane. The EMP pulse could be used to interfere with the electronics of guided missiles, improving the possibility for P51 pilots to evade them. Hitting the plane with an EMP blast would not be out of the question even with limited range if they can maneuver in such a way as to force the F35 to fly close enough to one of the P51s.

There is a serious misconception that low-tech weapons have somehow lost their effectiveness. Not true. Look at what the US military has had to do to deal with the taliban and their IEDs. Simple bombs made from re-purposed shells have been chipping away at our military's more advanced vehicles and weaponry. A similar thing happened in Vietnam.

Technology can be an asset or a crutch and I would say that a heavy reliance on complex tech ensures the latter.


RE: Boodoggle
By Sivar on 1/17/2013 11:28:50 AM , Rating: 2
Let me know where you can pick up a P51 Mustang for $40,000.


RE: Boodoggle
By Azethoth on 1/18/2013 6:48:31 AM , Rating: 1
That was its construction cost according to Google. Of course, now that its an antique u cannot. However, you could construct something similar at a similar cost no doubt.

The figure may need inflation adjustment, but the numbers don't change much.


"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007














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