Air Force F-35A Makes First Nighttime Flight
April 3, 2014 10:34 AM
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Marine and Navy pilots took first night flights in January
An F-35A fighter took off from Eglin Air Force Base on its first nighttime training mission late last month. Prior to this flight, the Air Force version of the advanced fighter was prohibited from operating at night or during adverse weather.
One of the issues which prohibited nighttime flights involved symbols displayed to the pilot that traditionally differ between the Air Force and Navy/Marines versions of aircraft. The Air Force has a different airworthiness authority,
, than the
standards already incorporated into the F-35 night systems.
[Image Source: Lockheed Martin]
“Back in [training] the displays the pilots were looking at were confusing to Air Force pilots but not confusing to Navy and Marine Corps pilots because a lot of the symbology was of Navy origin," described Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan.
To get around this issue, the Air Force trained 15 pilots on simulators at Elgin and at the plant in Ft. Worth until the Air Force was sure its pilots were ready for night operations.
Despite the recent good news that
South Korea chose the F-35
as its next generation fighter, there are still lingering fears that software delays could continue to set the program back.
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RE: different symbols?
4/3/2014 6:41:31 PM
There is a precedent in doing this - the Wehrmacht was remarkably efficient compared to traditional equal sized separate armed forces in ww2.
Direct inter service communication and tactics were what blitzkrieg was all about.
The defeat of the Wehrmacht only came after they were massively outnumbered on both sides and after a lunatic (Hitler) took direct control of military strategy.
There is a huge operational advantage to combining the three components of the armed forces. The issue of the federal government being overly wasteful in any reorganisation is very true - I'm just talking about operational efficiency in the long run.
RE: different symbols?
4/4/2014 3:17:39 PM
Here is where I would disagree and agree. While there is some parts of the services that could be combined to save money i.e. environmental sciences and weather, communications & some R& D programs, the separation of the services actually saves money. You have to remember that the mission of each service is drastically different, and the equipment each purchases and uses does not translate between services. While the F35A nomenclature is used, there is a huge difference between the Airforce and Navy variants. Navy aircraft are heavier, require more power, and have added safety equipment as they take off and land on carriers. The Navy variant also has more redundancy because it can't land when things go wrong over the ocean. This true of almost all the equipment the services use i.e. the Marines are an invading force that needs light weight equipment with a lot of fire power, while the Army is a maintaining force that needs much more heavier and permanent equipment. The Navy and Marines work over the water and their systems are also designed to take that into account. The Airforce primary mission is strategic which means it has a role in Space, and Strategic warfare like nuclear deterrence etc. Where there is overlap I agree we could save money by giving that overlap to one service or the other to save money, but a combining of the services would not only cost more, and it would weaken the overal mission and capabilities of each service. We have seen this with a combining of mission capabilities on Ships were the number of missions increased but knoeone is an expert in any of the mission areas.
"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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