F-35 fighter transforming defense industry says retiring chief

Discussion in 'Americas' started by average american, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. average american

    average american Senior Member Senior Member

    Aug 28, 2012
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    F-35 fighter transforming defense industry says retiring chief

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The retiring chief of the trouble-plagued F-35 Joint Strike Fighter says he remains bullish about the hi-tech war plane, with costs soon to be further reduced as production takes off, and believes the program will transform the aerospace industry.

    Tom Burbage, a former Navy test pilot and general manager of the F-35 program since its inception 12 years ago, said the $396 billion weapons program, which will create a supersonic, single-engine fighter jet for use by the United States and its allies, still made strategic sense.

    Mounting budget pressures and escalating threats made the coalition and joint-service warfare of the F-35 fighter more important than ever, Burbage, a top executive with manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp, said on Tuesday.

    "The value proposition as it was stated then is even more important today," he told reporters.

    The F-35's development has been hit by a spate of technical setbacks, is 70 percent over initial cost estimates, been restructured three times, and is now years behind schedule.

    As a result, the United States has postponed some orders of F-35s and other nations are re-considering their plans.

    Some U.S. officials are worried that any further reductions in orders by the U.S. military or allies overseas could trigger a classic death spiral in which rising costs spark reductions in orders, which in turn trigger further cost increases and so on.

    Burbage, who will retire in March, said the company would soon be producing larger numbers of F-35s than any other military aircraft in recent history, which would help drive costs down further.

    "We're going to wind up being very competitive in the long run," he said, adding that the F-35 already cost 50 percent less to produce than when the first planes rolled off the assembly line in Fort Worth, Texas five years ago.

    Burbage said further reductions were expected in the next two production contracts now being negotiated with the Pentagon.

    Pentagon officials and Lockheed have said they expect to wrap up those contract talks by this summer after long delays in the negotiations for the two previous batches of planes.

    Burbage said there was a risk that further delays in U.S. orders, which had already added billions to the cost of the program, would slow cost cutting.

    But he said the large number of countries involved and growing interest from additional buyers in Asia should help offset the impact of any budget-driven cuts in U.S. orders.

    "It's important to get that leveraged buying power of a larger production base than just the airplanes the U.S. is buying," he said.

    Along with the United States, eight countries are helping fund the F-35's development: Britain, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Australia, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands. Israel and Japan have also placed orders.

    Burbage said much of the F-35 cost-cutting will come from suppliers that produce about 70 percent of the state-of-the-art plane, a big change from earlier weapons programs, when a given prime contractors built about 70 percent of a plane.

    The F-35's supply chain was spread around the world, a deliberate move aimed at ensuring continued commitment to the new weapons program by participating nations, he said.

    "In many ways we're recapitalizing the aerospace and defense industry while we're recapitalizing the multi-role fighter forces," Burbage told the reporters.

    Working together with Lockheed, smaller companies in the partner countries developed new ways of machining parts out of titanium, working with advanced composite materials, and processing complex engineering models, he said.

    The F-35 program had led to the creation of four to five advanced composites factories around the world that would be available for work on other aerospace projects in the future.

    In the Netherlands, Fokker Elmo, the company that produces the wiring harnesses for the F-35, has already parlayed its work on the F-35 into additional orders for other warplanes and military and commercial engines, Burbage said.

    F-35 fighter transforming defense industry says retiring chief - Yahoo! Finance Canada
  3. average american

    average american Senior Member Senior Member

    Aug 28, 2012
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    Yahoo! News Canada - Latest News & Headlines

    By Kiyoshi Takenaka

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's highest-ranking uniformed officer said on Wednesday that Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighters were the best choice for the nation's future operational needs as Tokyo wrestles with tensions with China and increasingly belligerent North Korea.

    The vote of confidence in the state-of-the-art U.S. warplane comes amid reports that some nations that have placed orders for the F-35s are reconsidering their plans.

    Shigeru Iwasaki, chief of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces' Joint Staff, also said advancement of North Korea's arms technology in a series of nuclear and missile tests posed a serious threat to Japan, but its missile defense system should provide the country with sufficient protection.

    "When I was the head of the air force, I spearheaded the decision (to procure F-35s). Or, rather, we drew up a plan, which was then approved by defense minister," said Iwasaki, a veteran fighter pilot who used to fly F-15s, Japan's current mainstay combat aeroplane.

    "There were various candidates. But I still believe the F-35 is the best fighter, when we think about Japan's future national security," he said in an interview with Reuters.

    Dutch orders for F-35 warplanes are likely to be cut back, sources close to the discussions told Reuters last week, citing cost overruns and delays in the program, uncertainty over the Netherlands' defense strategy and budget cuts across Europe.

    U.S. officials fear cuts in orders by the Dutch or other buyers could trigger a "death spiral" in the Pentagon's biggest arms program by driving up the price of remaining orders, leading to more cancellations.

    Japan, one of the closest U.S. allies in Asia, has remained steadfast in its plans to buy 42 F-35s, with the first four planes scheduled for delivery by March 2017.

    Iwasaki described North Korea's nuclear and missile tests as "unforgivable".

    "I think, after a series of tests, their technology has reached a certain level, helping them acquire capability to launch missiles with a very long range ... I believe it's becoming a very serious situation when it comes to our national security," he said.

    North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in February although it is not believed to have acquired weapons capability. But it has threatened U.S. naval bases in Japan, which are within the range of its medium-range missiles.

    Iwasaki said, however, Japan was sufficiently protected by its missile defense system, equipped with Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptors.

    SM-3 interceptors are capable of shooting down a ballistic missile outside the earth's atmosphere, while PAC-3 interceptors provide back-up protection as the missile returns to earth.


    On Japan's tense ties with China, Iwasaki urged Beijing to agree to reopen talks with Tokyo on the establishment of a hotline and other maritime communication channels to avoid any unintended military clash between Asia's two biggest economies.

    Japan has been locked in a territorial dispute with China over a group of East China Sea islets, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

    The island row has escalated in recent months to the point where both sides have scrambled fighter jets while patrol ships shadow each other in nearby seas, raising worries that an unintended collision or other incident could lead to a broader clash.

    Talks between Japan and China aimed at establishing the so-called maritime communication mechanism have been halted since last fall, despite Japan's call for resumption, Iwasaki said.

    "We need to set up a system to eliminate any misunderstanding at both the working level and at higher levels ... We have not heard from China but I believe the talks need to be restarted."

    Japan said last month that a Chinese frigate had locked its targeting radar on a Japanese destroyer on January 30 - a step that usually precedes the firing of weapons.

    Iwasaki said the crew of the destroyer handled the situation well by not taking any retaliatory measures and that type of level-headedness should prevail in the future.

    Asked about media reports that the United States and Japan have begun talks on military plans to cope with armed conflict over the East China Sea islets, Iwasaki said that a meeting with Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific, last week was a scheduled event.

    "I cannot comment on details because it involves the other side, but it was a regular meeting," he said.
  4. average american

    average american Senior Member Senior Member

    Aug 28, 2012
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    WASHINGTON: Singapore is expected to announce sometime in the next 10 days that it plans to buy its first squadron --12 planes -- of some 75 of Lockheed Martin's F-35Bs, further bolstering what had been the flagging fortunes of the world's most expensive conventional weapon system.

    The fact that American allies in the Pacific are the ones committing to the controversial and over-budget aircraft is telling. If you want to understand the calculus driving these choices, first look at China, which to countries such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Australia is the primary long-term threat.

    For more news and information on the swiftly-changing defense industry, please sign up for the AOL Defense newsletter. For the quickest updates, like us on Facebook.

    The Singaporeans are extremely shy about declaring their intentions in public, eager to offer few chances for China and Malaysia to react, but two sources familiar with the program confirmed the likely announcement. Given Singapore's tiny size its choice of which of the three F-35 versions to buy is not surprising. A plane that can take off almost vertically and can land vertically is able to operate from a much smaller footprint than, say the F-35A (the Air Force version) or F-16 Block 60s. And, given Singapore's geography, the F-35B makes great sense for its ability to operate closely with the US Marines -- as well as with F-35Cs operating from our aircraft carriers.

    The Singaporeans decision will eventually leave China -- and Russia, still something of a Pacific power -- facing 50 to 100 Australian F-35As, 42 F-35As in Japan, 75Bs in Singapore and however many of the three versions built and fielded by the Untied States are regularly in the Pacific. Then consider the F-35, which offers the first true integrated global supply chain for a major weapon system and offers highly classified capabilities which America had previously not made available to allies.

    But the underlying reason for the choice of Singapore and the other Pacific countries may be found in the conclusion of these countries about the F-35's effectiveness. One senior official from the region, who has access to the most sensitive classified information about the system, told me recently that the F-35 is "simply undefeatable." And this official said the aircraft is expected to maintain its dominance for at least one quarter of a century.

    If you link the F-35s from Singapore, Japan and Australia with the US planes that will be stationed throughout the Pacific at Air Force bases, on aircraft carriers and on the Gator navy's ships, then the US and allied presence will loom large in an arc from Alaska west and south to the bottom of the South China Sea and then back down to Australia and across to Hawaii. Strengthening this highly capable net will be the new F-35 plant Japan is expected to announce soon. Mistubishi Heavy Industries is expected to construct a plant to build Japan's F-35s. It would eventually provide the US and its Pacific allies with a central repair and replacement plant in the region, one in addition to any repair centers the US builds in the region.

    Add the regular port visits to Singapore by the Littoral Combat Ship fleet to the F-35 decision and you've got a pretty powerful national security statement by the tiny state.

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  5. average american

    average american Senior Member Senior Member

    Aug 28, 2012
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    f-35 lightning II DAS system - YouTube

    Its not World War II , or even the Gulf War anylonger.....

    But even in World War II " Air combat experience going at least back to World War II suggests that surprise in the form of the unseen attacker has been pivotal in three-quarters or more of the kills. In writing about his experiences flying long-range escort missions over northern Europe with the U.S. Eighth Air Force, P–38 pilot Mark Hubbard stressed that “90 percent of all fighters shot down never saw the guy who hit them"

    Detailed reconstructions of the 112 decisive engagements from December 18, 1971, to January 12, 1973, revealed that 81 percent of all aircrews downed on both sides either were unaware of the attack, or else did not become aware in time to take effective defensive action

    If some 80 percent of the losses have resulted from aircrews being unaware that they were under attack until they either were hit or did not have time to react effectively, then a relative deficit of situation awareness has been the root cause of the majority of losses in actual air-to-air combat. A deficit in situation awareness accounts for four out of five losses. While this statistic may not measure frictional imbalances directly, it does reflect the influence friction has had on outcomes over the course of large numbers of air-to-air engagements.

    Now think about this Networking & Situational Awareness
    As F-35s criss-cross enemy airspace, they also will automatically collect vast amounts of data about the disposition of enemy forces. They will, much like the JSTARS, collect ground moving target imagery and pass the data through electronic links to the entire force. This means the F-35 will be able to silently and stealthily transmit information and instructions to dispersed forces, in the air and on the ground.

    I don’t think at this time we can possibly overemphasize how the F-35 systems allow a pilot to gain and exploit superior situational awareness relative to legacy systems nor how much an edge it gives to any F-35 on the network. Plus then add in the fact that US pliots are going to optimise the use of stealth to surprise enemy forces. THINK

    Source: http://www.------------------/forum...4991-saab-gripen-vs-f-35-a.html#ixzz2OlQY0EbY
  6. average american

    average american Senior Member Senior Member

    Aug 28, 2012
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    WASHINGTON | Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:53pm EDT

    (Reuters) - The United States and its allies plan to buy more than 3,100 new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter warplanes in coming years.

    Following is a list of the planned purchases and possible changes, where applicable, according to data provided by Lockheed Martin Corp, the prime contractor for the $396 billion weapons program, and defense officials in the United States and other purchasing countries.

    Lockheed is developing three variations for the U.S. military services and eight partner countries that helped fund the plane's development - Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Canada. Two other countries, Israel and Japan, have also placed orders for the fighter jet.

    The conventional landing A-model will be used by the U.S. Air Force and most allies; the B-model, which can take off from shorter runways and land like a helicopter, will be used by the U.S. Marine Corps, Italy and Britain; and the C-model, or carrier variant, will be used by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.


    The U.S. Air Force plans to buy a total of 1,763 F-35 A-models through 2037. The Air Force has already begun early training of pilots to fly the F-35, and technicians to service the planes, at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

    The first F-35As have begun to arrive at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, where the Air Force eventually plans to use 36 F-35s for operational testing and evaluation and training.

    U.S. NAVY

    Current plans call for the U.S. Navy to buy 260 C-model F-35s, which have longer wings and a special tailhook that allows them to land on aircraft carriers. Navy officials are evaluating how many F-35 C-models to buy - and on what timetable - since lawmakers have also ordered the Navy to buy 41 new F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets built by Boeing Co at a cost of about $3.1 billion.


    The Marine Corps, the smallest of the U.S. military branches plans to buy 340 F-35 B-models and 80 F-35 C-models to replace its current fleet of F/A-18 Hornets, EA-6B Prowlers, and AV-8B Harrier "jump jets."

    The Marines aim to start using the new F-35Bs by the end of 2015, if Lockheed completes development of the software it is now working on.


    Britain's Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, which have invested $2 billion to help develop the new warplane, plan to buy a total of 138 F-35 B-models.

    Britain has so far committed to buying 48 of the new planes, and remains committed to the F-35 program, but its defense budget remains under pressure.


    Italy initially planned to buy 131 F-35 fighters, but curtailed its order early last year. Now it is slated to buy 60 F-35A models and 30 F-35Bs, but tough budget pressures in Europe and an inconclusive election could still pare that 90-jet order in coming years, experts say.

    Italy has invested heavily in both the F-35 development effort and construction of a final assembly plant being built by Lockheed Martin and Alenia Aeronautica, a unit of Finmeccanica SpA at Cameri air base in northern Italy.


    The Dutch military, which is slated to buy 85 F-35As in coming years, has already ordered two jets that will be used for training. A spokesman for the Dutch defense ministry said the government will finalize its procurement plans for the F-35 this year.


    Turkey is slated to buy 100 F-35As. It recently delayed by two years its first order for two jets.


    Australia is slated to buy 100 F-35As, but experts say it could reduce its order by 30 to 50 jets, given delays in the expected fielding of the new plane. It is expected to decide later this year whether to buy 24 more Boeing Co F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets.


    Norway, which has a growing defense budget unlike many of its European neighbors, plans to buy 52 F-35A fighter jets at a total projected cost of $10 billion, the country's biggest weapons procurement.


    Denmark is slated to buy 30 F-35As.


    Canada, one of the eight international development partners on the F-35 program, was to buy 65 F-35 A-model fighter jets for C$9 billion, but announced in December that it would evaluate all available options for new fighters.

    The announcement was intended to put an end to growing controversy about the government's decision to buy the F-35 without an open competition. A spending watchdog said the decision to buy the F-35s was based on bad data from officials, who deliberately downplayed the costs and risks of the program.

    Canada has not formally withdrawn from the F-35 program, and still has a representative at the program's offices near the Pentagon.


    Israel has ordered 19 F-35 jets, and plans to order up to 75 jets in coming years.


    Japan announced in December 2011 that it was ordering 42 F-35 A-model jets.

    A senior official at Japan's Defense Ministry said it was keeping a close eye on cost and schedule risks on the program, but there were no plans to change Tokyo's order.

    (Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa; Additional reporting by Ivana Sekularac in Amsterdam and Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo)
    Factbox: U.S., allies plan to buy over 3,100 F-35 fighters | Reuters
  7. average american

    average american Senior Member Senior Member

    Aug 28, 2012
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    A Boeing official stated that the F/A-22 can approach the S-300 SAM defense system to a range of 13 nautical miles safely. That SAM system usually detects an F-15 sized target well over 100 nautical miles away.

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