To be honest, this F-35 fighter jet High-AOA testing video has nothing to be impressed of May 21, 2013Posted by David Cenciotti in : F-35 , 3comments
I’ve seen the video released yesterday by Lockheed Martin at least a couple of time. Still, I struggle to find something to be impressed of.
The video was taken during a series of F-35A high angle of attack (AOA) testing that was recently completed.
According to LM: “The testing accomplished high AOA beyond both the positive and negative maximum command limits, including intentionally putting the aircraft out of control in several configurations. This included initially flying in the stealth clean wing configuration. It was followed by testing with external air-to-air pylons and missiles and then with open weapon bay doors. The F-35A began edge-of-the-envelope high AOA testing in the Fall 2012. For all testing, recovery from out of control flight has been 100 percent successful without the use of the spin recovery chute, which is carried to maximize safety.”
Some media outlets that received the release published interesting reviews about what they defined “shocking” or “most awesome” footage ever seen, allegedly showing the aircraft’s superior maneuverability.
Image: U.S. Air Force
Few weeks ago, Bill Flynn, Lockheed test pilot responsible for flight envelope expansion activities for the F-35, told Flight Global that all three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter will have better kinematic performance than any fourth-generation fighter plane with combat payload, including the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
Such claims were strongly disputed by a Eurofighter Typhoon industry test pilot, who debunked all Flynn’s “theories” about the alleged superior F-35 performance.
The F-35 maneuverability shown in the video seems far to be special. Have you ever seen what a Su-27, a Mig-29 a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, with the latter highly facilitated by thrust vectoring engines, can do?
Even the SAAB Draken was capable to perform a “Cobra” some 40 years ago…
Related articlesF-35, weapons , 8comments
Last week the Norwegian Crown Prince visited Lockheed Martin’s Ft Worth facility as part of an effort to promote Norwegian industry within the JSF-program.
As part of the visit, LM fitted an F-35A with two externally mounted development models of the Joint Strike Missile.
Image credit: Norwegian MoD
Unveiled on Nov. 29, 2012, the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) developed for the F-35 by the Norwegian company Kongsberg and the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, is the only powered anti-ship missile that can fit inside the F-35’s weapons bays.
Actually, even if carrying the missiles on the underwing pylons would cost the JSF its stealthiness, the F-35 can carry up to six (2 in the internal bays, 4 on the external pylons) JSMs; previously, only 2+2 were believed to be theoretically carried by the 5th generation multirole radar evading plane,
Derived from the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), the anti-ship weapon, featuring long range, low radar cross section and high maneuverability, speed and accuracy, will undergo a Critical Design Review in summer 2013: the CDR will confirm whether the design is mature enough to be able to continue the integration on the F-35.
Upgraded F-35 Block 2A Joint Strike Fighters delivered to the U.S. Air Force. Still much to do, though. May 11, 2013Posted by Jacek Siminski in : F-35 , 6comments
The brand new Joint Strike Fighters reached the 58th Fighter Squadron on May 6, 2013. The difference between the mentioned plane and the older ones is the fact that it already incorporates the Block 2A avionics software and will start flying in 2-3 weeks.
Image Credit: Lockheed Martin
26 F-35As (including 2 spares) are going to be a part of the Squadron in Eglin by the beginning of 2014. Some of them will support a training squadron that will be stationed at Luke AFB and is scheduled to receive its first JSFs in January 2014.
The new software introduces interesting capabilities.
First of all, it allows the pilot to use all six thermal imaging cameras of the EO-DAS AN/AAQ-37 optical set.
The purpose of the device is to detect and track the enemy aircraft and provide early warning messages about the launched missiles.
Nevertheless it is not integrated with the on-helmet-sight yet even if it allows displaying weather info.
In spite of the latest upgrade, the F-35A is still restricted. It can’t conduct IMC flights, night flights, aerobatics (have you ever seen JSF on an Air Show?!) and formation take-offs and landings. Even if it is in a post-prototype stage of development the F-35 is still not a fully capable fighters, and it evokes mixed feelings among the Lockheed Martin employees, as The Aviationist reported earlier.
However, the Block 2A software extends the F-35′s capabilities, because it lets the pilot simulate the launch of AIM-120 missiles. Still, the g-limit for the airframe is 5,5 G that is quite ridiculous, taking into account the objectives the JSF is designed to face. Hopefully the g-limit will be lifted soon.
Image Credit: USAF
The 58th Fighter Squadron already operates 9 F-35A Block 1B, which were used to train USAF instructors and test pilots. The ultimate number of trained pilots is to reach 45.
The initial problems with the Lockheed-Martin fighter jet are not an issue for some of the customers. Just recently Israel has transferred $20,1 million for the jets that they are going to buy. The money is to fund additional 2 planes to the 6 already existing in the order. They are to be a part of LRIP – Low Rate Initial Production.
Out of the remaining planes of LRIP VIII (45 examples) 29 are to stay in the US (19 F-35A’s – for USAF and 6 VTOL F-35B’s for the Marine Corps and 4 F-35C’s for US Navy). The remaining 19 planes are to be delivered to the customers as follows: 4 F-35B’s for UK, 2 F-35A for Norway, 4 F-35A for Japan and two abovementioned examples for Israel.
Jacek Siminski for The Aviationist
Romanian Air Force to buy F-16 fighter jets April 26, 2013Posted by Jacek Siminski in : Military Aviation , 7comments
Romania is going to acquire a set of F-16s in the near future. The bargain offer comes from Portugal that has been undergoing serious financial problems due to the latest financial crisis.
Image Credit: cavok-aviation-photos.net
Dusa, Romanian Minister of Defence said that the agreement to replace MiG-21s Lancers flying in the Romanian Air Force is going to be signed by the end of May and finalized in September this year with the help of Lockheed-Martin in scope of modernizing the jets.
The quantity of Vipers that would go to the Romanian AF would be 12 pieces – that is a size of a single Squadron.
During last week’s visit of Minister Dusa in Lisbon, the F-16 deal was one of the major topics of the talks.
The pay is going to be about 670 million euro, with 120 for the planes. The rest of the money is going to cover the logistics and technical support.
The planes which are going to be passed to the Romanian AF are said to come from the 1999 Peace Atlantis II program, and they were used jets, which have been flying since 1984 in USAF. In this way the Romanian deal is different from Polish Air Force set of F-16s which were bought new directly from Lockheed Martin with a benefit package stemming from the offset.
What is most controversial about the deal is the technical status of the said aircraft, which have accumulated around 3,500 flying hours.
The Romanian Air Force operates 48 MiG-21 Lancers which were modernized with the help of Israelis, nevertheless their service life is slowly coming to an end with 40 years of flying.
The F-16s are said to be usable for at least next 20 years, for around 4,000 – 4,500 flying hours.
Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist
Kaman K-Max Drone – Supplier for Afghan Bases April 16, 2013Posted by Jacek Siminski in : Drones, Helicopters, Military Aviation , 3comments
is an extremely dangerous war theater.
Threats include IEDs, and the Afghan rebels have Stinger ground-to-air missiles, remains of the Soviet-Afghan war, at their disposal. It is not a surprise then, that the have been looking for a way which would make the logistic support easier, faster and first and foremost – safer.
Risking a loss of a helicopter in the war means not only that the expensive aircraft would end up in a scrapyard, it also means that the pilot, whose training costs a lot of money, would probably also lose their lives.
Image Credit: US Marine Corps
The risk of losing a pilot / aircraft should be minimized. This was the main idea that led to the development of UAVs, unmanned aerial vehicles which allow the armed forces to carry out recon or even combat operations with minimum risk of losing human lives.
When it comes to supplying Forward Operating Bases in the Afghan theater, convoys used to be the main means of support. Nevertheless, extensive use of IEDs and assymetrical methods of fighting on the side of Taliban forces made this tactical approach unsafe. Here is where the K-Max drone provides a solution; a pretty clever one.
The main aim of the K-Max programme was to create an autonomous cargo system for the Afghan theatre. K-Max drone, developed on Yuma proving grounds, is a solution that lets the Marine Corps, that are the main user, receive the supplies in many remote areas without risking losses in personnel.
Image credit: Lockheed Martin
It must be remembered though, that K-Max was a manned aircraft, which was basically converted into a drone. It still features a cockpit and may be flown manually if needed.
The helicopter is a single purposed aircraft, whose main task is to lift and transport heavy cargo. The drone is able to carry up to 6000 lbs. of external load, what with the mass of 6000 lbs. is an outstanding achievement.
The design of the helicopter includes a counter-rotating rotor system, eliminating the need for a tail rotor, that simplifies the drivetrain complexity. Steering is achieved with the use of flaps mounted on the rotors. The peculiarity of these stems is that they are servo-mechanic, non-hydraulic system.
Here is a video which presents the K-Max’s practical application in the Afghan Theatre:
The concept has been proven so useful that the Marines extended the use of it in cooperation with Lockheed-Martin for an indefinite period of time on Mar. 18. 2013. Two aircraft of this type are currently stationed in Afghanistan.
Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist