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1 novembre 2013 5 01 /11 /novembre /2013 12:20
F-35 Weekly Update: 31st October 2013

 

31.10.2013 Defence IQ Press


South Korea is nearing a decision to buy some Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, but may keep its options open for a limited purchase of Boeing Co's (BA.N) F-15, sources familiar with the country's fighter competition said on Wednesday.

South Korean officials could announce their plans as early as November to secure the funding needed to ensure initial deliveries of the F-35 in 2017, according to multiple sources who were not authorized to speak publicly. They cautioned that the decisions were not yet final, and an announcement could still be postponed if the decision-making process hits a snag.

South Korea's fighter competition has been closely watched given its importance to Boeing, which is keen to extend its F-15 production line beyond 2018, and to Lockheed, which is trying to drive down the price of the F-35 by securing more buyers.

Boeing's new F-15 Silent Eagle model was the only bid that came in under South Korea's budget cap of 8.3 trillion won ($7.2 billion). But Seoul last month rejected that offer and said it needed a fifth-generation warplane that is nearly invisible to enemy radar - a move widely seen as an endorsement of the F-35.

Europe's Eurofighter also plans to bid again for the order, but the head of Europe's EADS (EAD.PA) acknowledged last month that the company faced a tough battle against its U.S. rivals.

South Korean officials have said they are examining a mixed procurement approach that could help Seoul maintain sufficient numbers of fighters in its fleet if the F-35 runs into further delays. They are also looking at reducing the size of the order to 40 or 50 planes.

Analysts say Boeing is now offering Seoul a range of options for an upgraded F-15, instead of the more expensive Silent Eagle variant the company initially proposed, although the Silent Eagle version technically remains an option.

South Korean officials are under pressure to commit to at least some F-35 purchases soon, given their own budget deadlines, and the need to start buying certain "long-lead" materials needed for any jets that would be delivered in 2017.

Seoul may put off, at least for now, whether to buy a smaller number of F-15 variants, the sources said.

"South Korea will need to decide on a plan as soon as possible in order to secure (the project's) budget for next year," said one source with direct knowledge of a task force set up last month to review options for the delayed fighter jet buy. [Reuters]

 

The Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet dropped a 500-pound bomb this week, hitting a tank at Edwards Air Force Base in California and marking the first time the new warplane has fired a laser-guided weapon, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

An F-35 B-model jet released the Guided Bomb Unit-12 (GBU-12) Paveway II bomb from its internal weapons bay while flying at around 25,000 feet, successfully smashing into a tank parked on the ground, the Pentagon's F-35 program office said in a statement. It took 35 seconds to hit the target.

"This guided weapons delivery test of a GBU-12 marks the first time the F-35 truly became a weapon system," said Marine Corps Major Richard Rusnok, the pilot who flew the plane during the weapons test Tuesday. "It represents another step forward in development of this vital program."

Different F-35 models have test-fired missiles during flight and over water. But this marked the first time the jet had fired a guided weapon at a ground target.

After more than a decade of development, the $392 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is making strides in testing, production and operations. The Marine Corps plans to start operating the planes in mid-2015.

The Pentagon's top arms buyer, Frank Kendall, this week said the F-35 program had made sufficient progress to budget for higher production in fiscal year 2015, but said he remained concerned about progress on the jet's software, reliability and a computer-based logistics system.

The GBU-12 weapons test will be followed later on Wednesday by a live fire test at Edwards Air Force Base of an AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile, or AMRAAM, built by Raytheon Co.

A test of the F-35's ability to drop a 1,000-pound GBU-32 built by Boeing Co is planned next month. [Reuters]

 

The Pentagon's chief arms buyer wants details on how Lockheed Martin Corp and other companies will be held accountable for the quality and reliability of the F-35 fighter jet as he considers whether to approve an increase in the plane's production, U.S. defense officials said on Friday.

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, is asking the Pentagon office that runs the $392 billion F-35 program to map out how it will ensure the quality, reliability and maintainability of the new warplanes as production ramps up in coming years, said the officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Kendall chaired a five-hour review of the Pentagon's biggest arms program on Monday that showed progress in F-35 development, production and testing, and confirmed that Lockheed and its suppliers were technically ready to increase production.

But Kendall and other Pentagon officials want to make sure that they have contractual language and other tools in hand to hold Lockheed and engine maker Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, responsible if problems arise.

"The government wants to see how it can incentivize the contractors to do well, and what leverage it will have if they don't," said one source familiar with the program.

The Pentagon drive for more rigorous oversight could result in additional clauses in the next contracts for jets and engines. The contracts are being negotiated separately by Pratt and Lockheed with the government in coming months.

Government plans call for Lockheed to increase F-35 production from around 36 planes this year to 45 in 2016 and ramping up to 110 planes a year by the end of the decade. The company expects to build about 200 jets a year when the program, the largest in Pentagon history, is in full production.

Decisions on future production rates have been complicated by the lack of a federal government budget for the new fiscal year that began October 1 and uncertainty about additional cuts in Pentagon spending due to take effect under sequestration unless Congress agrees on other deficit-reducing measures. [Reuters]

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30 octobre 2013 3 30 /10 /octobre /2013 18:20
F-35A US Air Force test aircraft. (Lockheed Martin)

F-35A US Air Force test aircraft. (Lockheed Martin)

 

Sept. 30, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

 

Source: US Department of Defense Inspector General

Ref: Report No. DODIG-2013-140



This detailed report offers some insight into why the most costly weapon system in U.S. history has so many problems and defects.

The Pentagon failed to supervise the design and construction of its new fleet of F-35 stealth warplanes adequately, the DODIG concluded on Sept. 30, placing the blame squarely on military brass for performance and safety problems in the largest and most expensive weapons program in history.

Previous government audits of the $1 trillion military program have criticized its contractors or focused on technical flaws in the plane itself. But this report, probably the deepest dive so far into the origins of the fighter jet’s performance troubles, is the first to focus intensively on the Pentagon’s mismanagement of what a Senator has depicted as a “textbook” example of poor procurement.

FINDINGS:

The F-35 Program did not sufficiently implement or flow down technical and quality management system requirements to prevent the fielding of nonconforming hardware and software. This could adversely affect aircraft performance, reliability, maintainability, and ultimately program cost.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (Lockheed Martin) and its subcontractors did not follow disciplined AS9100 Quality Management System practices, as evidenced by 363 findings, which contained 719 issues.

The Joint Program Office did not:
• Ensure that Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors were applying rigor to design, manufacturing, and quality assurance processes.
• Flow down critical safety item requirements.
• Ensure that Lockheed Martin flowed down quality assurance and technical requirements to subcontractors.
• Establish an effective quality assurance organization.
• Ensure that the Defense Contract Management Agency perform adequate quality assurance oversight.

In addition, the Defense Contract Management Agency did not:
• Sufficiently perform Government quality assurance oversight of F-35 contractors.

 

Full text

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15 octobre 2013 2 15 /10 /octobre /2013 07:20
F-35: Lockheed mise tout sur le casque de Génération 2 et annule la recherche d’autres solutions (VIDÉO)

Vision Systems International développe le casque pour les pilotes des F-35 (Photo: VSI)

 

14/10/2013 par Jacques N. Godbout – 45eNord.ca

 

Bae systems, F-35, Gen 2, JPO, Lockheed Martin, Rockwell Collins, Elbit Systems, Vision Systems International

 

Le programme américain de développement du F-35, le «US F-35 Joint Program Office» (JPO), mise tout sur le casque Vision Systems International Generation 2 de Rockwell Collins Elbit Systems et annule le programme similaire de BAE Systems.

 

C’est d’ailleurs le casque America Vision Systems Generation 2 (Gen 2) qui est utilisé actuellement dans la formation et l’entraînement.

 

Pourtant, les responsables du Pentagone avaient déjà été contraints dans le passé de reporter la phase de tests opérationnels du F-35 en raison de problèmes avec ce casque de haute technologie pour les futurs pilotes.

 

C’est pour cette raison que BAE Systems avait commencé à développer un casque alternatif en vertu d’une initiative parallèle du développement du casque – intégrant un casque de combat plus traditionnel équipé de lunettes de vision de nuit – dans le cas où les problèmes de développement du casque Gen 2 n’auraient pu être résolus de façon satisfaisante.

 

L’initiative visait également à réduire les risques et à résoudre certains autres problèmes techniques.

 

Avec cette décision d’annuler maintenant le programme de BAE, qui permettra aux contribuables américains d’épargner 45 millions $, le JPO se retrouve toutefois sans solution de rechange advenant de nouveaux problèmes avec le casque de Rockwell Collins Elbit.

 

C’est ce qu’on appelle mettre tous ses oeufs dans le même…casque.

 

La vice-présidente et directrice générale du programme du F-35 Lightning II chez Lockheed-Martin, Lorraine M. Martin, a déclaré quant à elle que sa société et ses fournisseurs continueront de se concentrer sur le développement et la livraison du casque et la fourniture de capacités conformes à la «déclaration de capacité opérationnelle initiale».

 

«La décision du gouvernement de procéder exclusivement avec le casque principal indique bien sa confiance dans les performances du casque et en la résolution de problèmes techniques déjà identifiés», a déclaré Mme Martin.

 

Le programme «helmet mounted display system (HMDS) doit aussi développer un casque de Genération 3 (Gen 3) qui disposera d’un appareil photo amélioré de vision nocturne, de nouveaux écrans à cristaux liquides, del’alignement automatique et d’améliorations logicielles.

 

La présentation du Gen 3est prévue pour 2016 et les tests de développement doivent commencer en 2017.

 

Quant au casque Gen 2, le Corps américain des Marines compte maintenant qu’il sera opérationnel pour les pilotes de F-35B dès juillet 2015.

 

En plus de fournir aux pilotes de chasse une «conscience situationnelle» sans précédent, les casques du F-35 leur fourniront toute l’information nécessaire pour remplir leurs missions dans toutes les conditions météorologiques, de jour comme de nuit.

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14 octobre 2013 1 14 /10 /octobre /2013 07:20
Le programme F-35 a atteint les 10.000 heures de vol

Un F-35B s’apprête à effectuer un atterrissage vertical, le 21 mars 2013 à la base de Yuma, en Arizona (Archives/Cpl. Ken Kalemkarian)

 

11/10/2013 par Nicolas Laffont – 45eNord.ca

 

Malgré ses nombreux et récents déboires, le programme F-35 Lightning II poursuit sa maturation opérationnelle avec le dépassement des 10.000 heures de vol. On note d’ailleurs une accélération du programme d’essais.

Plus de la moitié du total des heures ont été accumulées lors des 11 derniers mois. La flotte de F-35 a volé 6.492 fois pour un total de 10.077 heures de vol durant cette période. En comparaison, depuis le début des essais, il y a six ans, les F-35 n’avaient effectués que 5.000 heures de vol.

 

 

L’ensemble de la flotte d’essais de F-35 a contribué à augmenter les heures de vol, soit les aéronefs basés à Eglin Air Force Base en Floride, ceux du Marines Corps Air Station Yuma, en Arizona et les appareils de conduite et formation et développement basés sur les installations des bases d’Edwards AFB , en Californie, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, dans le Maryland et Nellis AFB.

Les trois variantes du F-35 soit: le F -35A à atterrissage classiques (CTOL), le F- 35B à décollage court/atterrissage vertical (STOVL) et la variante navale F -35C (CV) ont participé à cette étape du programme.

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2 octobre 2013 3 02 /10 /octobre /2013 11:20
Un F-35 de Lockheed Martin prêt à s'envoler (Photo Lockheed Martin Aeronautics)

Un F-35 de Lockheed Martin prêt à s'envoler (Photo Lockheed Martin Aeronautics)

Oct. 1, 2013 by Zach Rosenberg – FG

 

Washington DC - A government quality assurance assessment of the Lockheed Martin F-35 found major faults with the programme, and criticised Lockheed and component suppliers for “insufficient rigor in design, manufacturing and quality assurance processes.”

 

The report from the Department of Defense’s Inspector General’s office was released on 30 September, outlining specific faults of the government’s Joint Program Office (JPO), primary contractor Lockheed and several subcontractors. The JPO, which is composed of officials from every major F-35 customer, largely agreed with the assessment.

 

“The F-35 JPO, Lockheed Martin, and its subcontractors were not ensuring that the necessary quality assurance process controls and disciplines were in place to produce a consistent and reliable product,” says the report. “This lack of process discipline and attention to detail creates an elevated risk of delivering nonconforming aircraft to the warfighter.”

 

The report made eight major recommendations, of which the JPO objected to two. Many are in the process of being corrected.

 

“As of 24 September 2013, 269 of the findings (78%) have been closed, with the remaining 74 still in work, with corrective action plans (CAPs) in development or approved but not fully implemented,” says the JPO, in a statement largely echoed by Lockheed. “The majority of the findings are consistent with weaknesses previously identified…and do not present new or critical issues that affect the health of the program.”

 

Such programme weaknesses are not uncommon in major defence programmes, and the F-35 has been repeatedly reviewed by a number of parties.

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2 octobre 2013 3 02 /10 /octobre /2013 11:20
F-35A US Air Force test aircraft. (Lockheed Martin)

F-35A US Air Force test aircraft. (Lockheed Martin)

01/10/2013 Michel Cabirol (avec agences) – laTribune.fr

 

Le géant de l'aéronautique n'a pas mis en place de "contrôles rigoureux de qualité", accuse l'inspection générale du Pentagone. Elle a signalé 363 problèmes liés à la conception et à la réalisation du F-35 qui pourraient porter préjudice à la sécurité de cet avion.

 

L'inspection générale du Pentagone a accusé lundi les fabricants de l'avion de chasse F-35 d'avoir mis en place des contrôles de qualité défaillants, compromettant la fiabilité et le sérieux de cet appareil aux coûts exorbitants pour l'armée américaine. Le bureau d'inspection a signalé 363 problèmes liés à la conception et à la réalisation du Joint Strike Fighter qui pourraient porter préjudice à la sécurité de cet avion.

 

Le géant de l'aéronautique Lockheed Martin et cinq de ses principaux sous-traitants n'ont pas mis en place de "contrôles rigoureux de qualité", affirme le Pentagone. Ces manquements "pourraient compromettre les performances, le sérieux et le budget de ce programme", précise le rapport de l'inspection générale. "Sans un contrôle adéquat du logiciel d'exploitation (de l'appareil), Lockheed Martin n'est pas en mesure de remplir les critères de sécurité exigés", dénonce encore l'inspection générale.

 

Une enveloppe de près de 400 milliards de dollars

 

Mis en place pour remplacer une grande partie de la flotte américaine d'avions de combat, le F-35 Lightning II (rallié par neuf pays) est le programme d'armement le plus cher de l'histoire des Etats-Unis, avec une enveloppe de 395,7 milliards de dollars qui ne cesse d'augmenter à mesure que les retards s'accumulent. Depuis l'attribution du contrat en 2001, une phase de mise au point et d'essais était prévue pour durer dix ans. Elle ne sera pas terminée avant 2016, repoussant d'autant la mise en service de l'appareil.

 

Les responsables du programme ont reconnu que le programme d'origine avait été bien trop ambitieux car il prévoyait que la fabrication de l'appareil démarre bien avant que les tests soient achevés.

 

Le Pentagone pointe les déficiences du système d'alimentation d'oxygène

 

Le rapport de lundi pointe également du doigt les sous-traitants de Lockheed Martin, notamment l'entreprise Honeywell accusée d'avoir fait de mauvais essais sur le système d'alimentation d'oxygène.

 

Les responsables du programme F-35 ont salué un rapport "minutieux et utile" tout en le minimisant. Ils estiment, dans un communiqué, que la plupart des problèmes signalés ne sont pas "nouveaux et ne constituent pas des problèmes fondamentaux dans la réalisation du programme". Sur les 343 recommandations que formule le rapport, 269 ont déjà été appliquées et 74 sont encore en cours, ont rapporté les responsables.

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1 octobre 2013 2 01 /10 /octobre /2013 07:35
China’s J-31 fighter vs F-35 in export market

China’s J-31 fighter vs F-35 in export market

09/30/2013  Defence IQ Press

 

The Chinese J-31 fighter, a 5th generation prototype jet also known as the Falcon Hawk, Falcon Eagle, F-60 or J-21, is being developed for the export market, according to Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong speaking in the People’s Daily.

 

It is “highly unlikely” the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will acquire and operate the aircraft itself – rather it will be offered as a direct competitor to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, presumably as a cheaper alternative.

 

Although the People’s Daily described the J-31 as “a serious threat to U.S. arms manufacturers,” meaning Lockheed Martin and its F-35 in particular, it’s doubtful the two will encounter much overlap. Pakistan is the most likely buyer for the J-31 at this moment, which won’t be seen as much of a blow by Lockheed’s business development team. Potential deals in Brazil and the Middle East may be spark more disquiet.

 

Little is known about the J-31 and China’s other 5th gen fighter, the J-20, beyond the few pictures and test flight videos scattered around internet forums. As a result it’s difficult to know exactly what threat the fighter would pose to the F-35 in the global marketplace – although based on past form, the F-35 looks like it can make a meal of attracting buyers all by itself.

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1 octobre 2013 2 01 /10 /octobre /2013 07:20
F-35 Weekly Update: 30th September 2013

09/30/2013  Defence IQ Press


 

The Pentagon on Friday said it had finalized two contracts with Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) valued at $7.8 billion for 71 more F-35 fighter jets, citing what it called significant reductions in the cost of the new radar-evading warplane.

The U.S. Defense Department said it signed a $4.4 billion contract for a sixth batch of 36 F-35 aircraft, with the average cost of the planes down 2.5 percent from the previous deal. All but $743 million of that amount had already been awarded to the company under a preliminary contract.

The two sides also signed a $3.4 billion contract for 35 aircraft in a seventh batch, which reflected a 6 percent drop in the average price from the fifth group, it said in a statement.

The Pentagon's F-35 program office said the cost of each F-35 conventional takeoff A-model jet would drop to $98 million in the seventh batch of jets, excluding the engine, from $103 million in the sixth lot. It marks the first time the price of the jet will have dipped below $100 million.

The U.S. government buys the engines directly from Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N), under a separate contract. [Reuters]

 

The massive hulk of a F-35 joint strike fighter sits inside a hangar at the west-side factory of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

About a half dozen mechanics and engineers stand by and admire the jet until a demure woman in a pants suit and flats emerges from behind the tail of the plane.

The attention shifts to her. It is all smiles and handshakes, but the body language says she’s the boss: Lorraine Martin, who was appointed in April as general manager of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 joint strike fighter Lightning II program, the costliest defense program in U.S. history.

“I help other people do their excellent work,” she said. “My job is really to clear out obstacles for the engineers, the software designers, the folks building the aircraft.”

Martin, 51, is part of a growing trend of U.S. business leaders who exemplify “authenticity” and are able motivate multi-generational employees of diverse backgrounds, North Texas business school professors say.

Standing just five-feet tall, she is a wisp of a woman in charge of a bear of a program that has been rocked by cost overruns and technical failures almost since it began in 2001. After a year as the program’s deputy manager, Martin was named general manager as part of a broad leadership shakeup at the defense giant. Orlando Carvalho replaced Larry Lawson as top executive of the aeronautics division. Lawson departed in March for another firm.

Martin has entered an arena fraught with complexity. She is leading an F-35 workforce of 6,000 at the Fort Worth plant during an uncertain period in the jet’s development, when even small mistakes are amplified and Pentagon leaders are apt to express dissatisfaction at any moment.

“Any weakness she may have had or demonstrated, she’d probably be the 90-day wonder,’’ said Billy Johnson, executive director of the professional leadership program at the College of Business, University of North Texas. “She’d been out pretty quick.” [Star-Telegram]

 

With Vermont’s highest elected officials still deep in Defense Dept. denial over the disaster that is the Air Force’s F-35 strike fighter, a local city council threatens to bring some military sanity to Vermont (but nowhere else) by exercising its landlord right to reject as a tenant a weapon of mass destruction that will wreak havoc on the local neighborhood.

This initiative comes from four members of Vermont’s Progressive Party on the Burlington City Council, who plan to introduce a resolution on October 7 effectively barring the F-35 from being based in the middle of Vermont’s most populated area. In contrast, Vermont’s official “leadership,” almost all Democrats, still thinks basing nuclear-capable warplanes in a Vermont community is a dandy idea.

Whatever they say – which is next to nothing – Vermont’s governor, two Senators, lone Congressmen, Burlington mayor, and most of the legislature remain effectively committed to a fool’s errand on behalf of the military-industrial complex, one that will do nothing good for the vast majority of their constituents and will do real harm to many of them. These representatives consistently refuse to meet with their constituents for serious discussion of health, safety, cost, and other issues. This is what the breakdown of American representative democracy looks like up close. [Global Research]

 

The company that makes the embattled F-35 fighter jet has hired Charles Bouchard, who was a lieutenant general in the Canadian Forces, for a top job.

Lockheed Martin Canada announced Tuesday it has hired Bouchard, effective immediately. Bouchard will report to the executive vice-president of Lockheed Martin International, Pat Dewar, the company said in a news release.

"Bouchard will assume leadership of the portfolio of Lockheed Martin activities in Canada and will be the corporation's lead representative in the country," according to the release.

"Bouchard's appointment is a result of Lockheed Martin International's focus on providing customers with direct access to the company's broad range of products and solutions."

Bouchard retired from the Canadian Forces in April 2012, after leading what many considered to be a successful NATO mission in Libya. The Libya mission provided air cover to protect civilians and allow rebel forces to overthrow long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi — a mission in which fighter jets played a massive role.

"We added a tremendous leader to our organization today. Charles will facilitate access to Lockheed Martin's broad portfolio of products and technologies to help Canada address its security and citizen service challenges," said Dewar. "We highly value our customers in Canada and we're investing for long-term partnership and growth." [CBC News]

 

Software remains the biggest risk of the F-35 program, according to U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the program executive officer. In a presentation at the Air Force Association (AFA) Air & Space Conference on September 17, Bogdan also discussed progress in fixing the Joint Strike Fighter’s helmet-mounted display systems (HMDS), and program costs.

Lockheed Martin’s scheduled delivery of the full-capability Block 3F software in 2017 “highly depends” on the performance of interim Block 2B and 3I software releases, Bogdan said. Block 2B is the “initial warfighting” software that adds sensor capabilities missing from the current training software releases, plus the AIM-120 AAM, GBU-12 laser-guided bombs, and the GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). Block 3I is the same software, but hosted on new processors.

The Block 2B software was slated to be delivered for flight-test last month, but has been delayed until April next year, according to testimony to a Congressional committee last June by Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation (DOT&E). It is not slated for release to the fleet until mid-2015. Moreover, Gilmore told the committee, F-35s equipped with Block 2B “would likely need significant support from other fourth-generation and fifth-generation combat systems to counter modern, existing threats, unless air superiority is somehow otherwise assured and the threat is cooperative.”

However, in a mandatory report to Congress last June, the Marine Corps said it will achieve initial operational capability (IOC) with the F-35B equipped with Block 2B by only six months later, in December 2015. In his AFA presentation, Bogdan said he is “confident” that the Marine Corps would achieve its planned IOC date. He earlier told Vanity Fair magazine (which published a long article on the F-35 this month) that there is nothing in U.S. procurement law to prevent the Marines declaring IOC before operational testing is complete.

The U.S. Air Force plans IOC of the F-35A version by December 2016, which is before the Block 3F software is available, Bogdan noted at AFA. Block 3F adds weapons such as the AIM-9X AAM and AGM-154 Joint Standoff Attack Weapon (JSOW), and sensor capabilities such as full radar synthetic aperture radar mapping (SAR), plus expansion of the flight envelope. The Navy plans to declare IOC of the F-35C carrier variant in February 2019. [AIN Online]

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1 octobre 2013 2 01 /10 /octobre /2013 07:20
Cost of F-35A Model – $113 Million Each

September 30, 2013. David Pugliese - Defence Watch

 

The Pentagon on Friday awarded Lockheed Martin and the F-35 team two contracts worth about US$7 billion, for 71 more F-35 fighter jets. For the US Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy and the air forces of Norway, Italy, Australia, and the UK, according to the Defense Update news site.

 

The Pentagon’s F-35 program office said the cost of each F-35 conventional takeoff A-model jet would drop to $98 million in LRIP 7, excluding the engine, from $103 million in LRIP 6. It marks the first time the price of the jet will have dipped below $100 million. The U.S. government buys the engines directly from Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp., under a separate contract. Lockheed and the Pentagon announced an agreement in principle for the next 71 jets on July 30.

 

Full story here

 

But as Al Williams, former ADM Materiel point out……there is also this…….”Note the $98 million excludes the cost of the engine (approximately $15 million). Therefore total is $113 million.” Headline has been changed.

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26 septembre 2013 4 26 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Belgique : Les vieux F-16 "bientôt" remplacés par des F-35

18 septembre 2013 dhnet.be (Belga)

 

Le ministre de la Défense Pieter De Crem (CD&V) envisage de proposer l'acquisition de chasseurs F-35 pour remplacer les F-16 belges vieillissants, écrit mercredi le Tijd. Selon le quotidien, le ministre entend préparer le dossier de manière à ce que le prochain gouvernement puisse rapidement prendre une décision politique sur ce dossier. Les F-16 belges sont appelés à être progressivement remplacés à compter de 2023. Le constructeur américain du F-35, Lockheed Martin, prévoit toutefois un délai de huit ans entre la commande ferme et la livraison effective des appareils.

 

Selon le Tijd, M. De Crem ne tient pas à s'exprimer sur le nombre d'appareils que la Belgique compte acquérir. Leur nombre sera toutefois "inévitablement" moindre que la soixantaine de F-16 que compte l'armée aujourd'hui, dit-il.

 

Les Pays-Bas ont annoncé mardi l'acquisition de 37 chasseurs F-35. La Haye déboursera 62 millions d'euros par appareil. Le gouvernement Verhofstadt ayant décidé, à l'inverse des Pays-Bas, de ne pas soutenir il y a dix ans le projet de développement du F-35, la Belgique devrait toutefois payer un prix supérieur pour ces mêmes appareils.

 

Dans l'opposition, le parti Groen n'a pas tardé à réagir.

 

"Les décisions relatives au remplacement de nos F-16 ne peuvent se prendre qu'après un débat au Parlement. Il serait beaucoup plus sensé de faire ces achats coûteux après un partage des tâches (militaires) entre pays européens. Avec sa proposition d'acquérir des avions de chasse américains, De Crem ne vise en fait qu'à renforcer sa campagne pour devenir secrétaire-général de l'Otan", juge ainsi le député Wouter De Vriendt.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
Pratt Wins $215M for F-35 Engine Spares

September 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: U.S Department of Defense; issued September 23, 2013)

 

Pentagon Contract Announcement

 

United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a $214,843,107 modification to the previously awarded F-35 Lightning II Lot VI low rate initial production advance acquisition contract (N00019-12-C-0090).

 

This modification provides for initial spare modules, initial spare parts, replenishment spare parts, and production non-recurring efforts, including tooling, for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, the United Kingdom, Italy, The Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark, and Norway.

 

Work will be performed in East Hartford, Conn. (67 percent); Bristol, United Kingdom (16.5 percent); and Indianapolis, Ind. (16.5 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2016.

 

Fiscal 2011 and 2012 procurement, Air Force, fiscal 2011and 2012 procurement, Navy, and international partner funding in the amount of $214,843,107 will be obligated at time of award, $33,328,898 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

 

 

This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps ($111,245,364; 51 percent); U.S. Air Force ($72,711,358; 34 percent); and the Governments of Italy ($8,850,625; 4 percent), the United Kingdom ($6,824,288; 3 percent), Australia ($6,245,484; 3 percent), The Netherlands ($2,350,434; 1 percent), Turkey ($2,722,643; 1 percent), Canada ($1,769,504; 1 percent), Denmark ($816,366; 1 percent) and Norway ($1,307,041; 1 percent).

 

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

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24 septembre 2013 2 24 /09 /septembre /2013 21:07
La Corée du Sud annule son contrat d’achat d’avions de combat avec Boeing

Un F-35 de Lockheed Martin prêt à s'envoler (Photo Lockheed Martin Aeronautics)

 

24/09/2013 par Nicolas Laffont – 45eNord.ca

 

Coup de théâtre en Corée du Sud. La Défense du pays a annoncé ce mardi qu’elle allait relancé l’appel d’offres pour la fourniture de 60 avions de combat suite à la décision de son agence en charge des contrats d’armements d’aller contre l’octroi à Boeing d’un contrat de 8300 milliards de wons (7,9 milliards $).

 

Il s’agit pour Séoul de remplacer une flotte vieillissante d’avions F-4 et F-5.

 

Le F-15 Silent Eagle de Boeing était opposé au F-35A de Lockheed Martin et au Typhoon du consortium européen Eurofighter (EADS, BAE Systems et Alenia). Ces deux derniers avaient cependant été éliminés car leurs offres dépassaient le budget fixé par Séoul, Boeing étant le seul à avoir soumis une offre correspondant au budget.

 

Une partie de l’état-major sud-coréen s’était toutefois récemment prononcée publiquement contre l’octroi de ce contrat à Boeing, jugeant que le F-15 Silent Eagle ne répondait pas aux besoins actuels des armées du pays. La raison invoquée serait entre autres le manque de capacités de furtivité de l’appareil face à certains de ses concurrents (le F-35 en tête).

 

Fin août, 15 anciens haut responsables de l’aviation sud-coréenne ont signé une pétition qualifiant d’«irrationnelle» la procédure qui avait éliminé les appareils de Lockheed Martin et d’EADS.

 

Le porte-parole du ministère de la Défense sud-coréenne a précisé que l’ensemble du processus devrait prendre «environ un an» et que le ministère ferait tout pour «accélérer les choses afin de nous assurer que le vide dans notre défense nationale soit limité à un minimum de temps».

 

Plusieurs possibilités seront examinés: le nombre d’avions commandés pourrait changer, la période de financement pourrait être prolongée, ou le contrat pourrait porter sur plusieurs types d’avions.

 

Les Pays-Bas ont récemment signé une commande de F-35, portant à sept le nombre de pays autres que les États-Unis optant pour cet avion, avec la Grande-Bretagne, l’Australie, l’Italie, la Norvège, Israël et le Japon.

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24 septembre 2013 2 24 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
Le premier vol du premier F-35 hollandais a eu lieu le 6 août 2012

Le premier vol du premier F-35 hollandais a eu lieu le 6 août 2012

23 septembre 2013 par Pierre Sparaco – Aerobuzz.fr

 

Les Pays-Bas vont commander trente-sept F-35A Lightning II, alias Joint Strike Fighter. La Belgique en fera autant l’année prochaine, deux commandes qui confirmeront les grandes ambitions mondiales de l’avion de combat de Lockheed Martin.

 

C’est au terme d’une longue valse-hésitation que les autorités de La Haye ont décidé de consacrer 4,5 milliards d’euros au F-35A pour assurer le remplacement d’une partie de leurs F-16. Une commande complémentaire de plusieurs dizaines d’exemplaires est envisagée en un deuxième temps, pour autant que le budget de la Défense le permette.

Ce choix ne constitue en aucun cas une surprise, les Hollandais ayant de la suite dans les idées et ne résistant jamais à l’appel du grand large : ils ont en effet successivement commandé le Lockheed F-104G Starfighter, le Northrop F-5 puis le F-16, écartant systématiquement les propositions françaises qui leur étaient soumises. Les Belges ont été très influencés par cette manière de faire, aux dépens de l’Europe de la Défense, au point de multiplier les occasions manquées, à commencer par la possibilité qui leur avait été offerte par Dassault Aviation de prendre une participation de 10 % dans le développement et la production du Rafale.

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Le Pentagone et Lockheed Martin conduisent des négociations avec d’autres acheteurs potentiels, notamment le Canada, où le dossier est à l’origine d’une violente polémique politique. photo Lockheed-Martin

En Belgique, la situation est plus complexe qu’aux Pays-Bas. Sans indiquer le nombre d’exemplaires qui seraient commandés, Pieter De Crem, ministre de la Défense, a exprimé une préférence pour le F-35A, toute autre possibilité semblant écartée, Super Hornet, Rafale, Eurofighter ou Gripen NG. Mais il va se heurter à l’opposition du parti socialiste et, explique notre confrère Patrick Anspach, aux réticences de la Flandre. Ce qui revient à dire que l’inextricable fracture politico-linguistique qui mine la Belgique n’épargnera pas ce dossier.

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Le Pentagone prévoit de commander environ 2 400 F-35, dans ses trois versions, dans le cadre d’une opération d’une durée d’une cinquantaine d’années. photo Lockheed-Martin

Sabca, première entreprise aéronautique du royaume, va logiquement défendre les couleurs du Rafale, Dassault étant son actionnaire. Mais Asco, très influente, bénéficie de commandes de sous-traitance de Lockheed Martin et fera évidemment le choix contraire. D’où la perspective d’un affrontement violent qui, dans une certaine mesure, pourrait rappeler l’épique marché du siècle de 1975 : les Pays-Bas, la Belgique, le Danemark et la Norvège, après avoir renoncé au Tornado trop coûteux, avaient décidé de commander conjointement 348 avions pour tenter d’obtenir des conditions favorables et, notamment, des compensations économiques généreuses. Avec l’appui de Pratt & Whitney, General Dynamics l’avait emporté avec le F-16, qui n’était alors qu’un démonstrateur technologique, une défaite cuisante pour l’Europe.

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Ce mois-ci, Lockheed Martin a célébré le début de l’assemblage du 100e avion à Fort Worth, jadis siège de General Dynamics, créateur du F-111 puis du F-16. photo Lockheed-Martin

Le F-35, programme d’une ampleur considérable, a déjà été retenu par le Royaume-Uni, l’Australie, l’Italie, la Norvège, Israël et le Japon, le Pentagone prévoyant pour sa part d’y consacrer 857 milliards de dollars. En retard, hors budget, mais bénéficiant d’efforts de redressement impressionnants, le prix catalogue du F-35 serait descendu, semble-t-il, à environ 85 millions de dollars. Trois versions sont mises au point, F-35A « classique », F-35B à décollage vertical, F-35C destiné à être embarqué sur porte-avions.

La production est lancée, le centième exemplaire est actuellement visible sur la chaîne d’assemblage final de Fort Worth, dans le Texas, dans le grand hall de 1 600 mètres de longueur d’une usine propriété de l’Etat fédéral, vestige de l’effort de guerre de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Une chaîne d’assemblage sera mise en place par Alenia Aermacchi, consacrant l’ancrage européen de l’opération.

 

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20 septembre 2013 5 20 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
5th-Generation Fighter, 1st-Generation Tires?

September 19th, 2013 by Brendan McGarry  - defensetech.org

 

Lockheed Martin Corp. bills the F-35 as the pinnacle of more than five decades of fighter-jet development, with the latest in stealth technology, supersonic speed, extreme agility and the most powerful sensor package available.

 

But someone apparently forgot to kick the tires.

 

Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, who oversees the Defense Department’s Joint Strike Fighter program, this week said some parts of the plane break down too frequently. When a reporter asked for examples, Bogdan cited a seemingly mundane component: the tires.

 

“Those tires today are coming off the airplane way, way, way too frequently,” Bogdan said Sept. 17 at the Air Force Association’s annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition at National Harbor, Md.

 

The problem only affects the tires on the Marine Corps’ version of the plane, known as the F-35B, according to Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s F-35 program office. Unlike the Air Force’s F-35A or the Navy’s F-35C variants, the F-35B takes off from both conventional and short runways, which puts greater stress on the tires, he said. (It can also hover and land like a helicopter onto a ship.)

 

“Tire wear must be improved for the F-35B variant and we have taken concrete actions to fix this problem,” DellaVedova said in an e-mailed statement.

 

The tires on the Marine Corps’ jets had a so-called initial wear rate of 10 to 11 landings per tire during testing, DellaVedova said. That rate worsened during more recent testing, which includes a higher mix of conventional take-offs and landings, he said. However, the results have improved slightly since last month’s fielding of a temporary replacement tire with a thicker tread, he said.

 

The tires, which cost about $1,500 apiece, are made by Dunlop Aircraft Tyres Ltd., based in the United Kingdom, DellaVedova said. The company also made tires for the AV-8B Harrier jump jet, whose performance requirements are similar to those of the F-35B, he said.

 

Lockheed and Dunlop plan to begin delivering a redesigned product to the military by the end of the year, DellaVedova said. Bogdan, the general, said the companies will have to cover the cost of the redesign. “I’m not paying a penny,” he said at the conference.

 

A Dunlop spokesman wasn’t able to provide an immediate response to a phone call and e-mail requesting comment.

 

The Air Force and Navy versions of the plane use a different type of tire made by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., DellaVedova said. That firm’s products “meet specification requirements and have adequate wear characteristics,” he said.

 

Despite the landing-gear criticism, Bogdan struck a far more conciliatory tone toward Lockheed over the development of the F-35 — the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons acquisition program. He said the relationship between the Air Force and Lockheed, along with engine-maker Pratt & Whitney, part of United Technologies Corp., is “orders of magnitude” better than it was a year ago.

 

“I’m encouraged by where we are today,” he said. “I’d like to be a little further along.”

 

The comments were a stark contrast to those Bogdan made at the same forum last year, when he called the relationship the “worst I’ve ever seen.” This year, Bogdan indicated his previous remarks were deliberate. “I threw a hand grenade into the crowd … that was intended,” he said.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
The F-35 programme starts to turn the corner

Sept. 18, 2013 by Dave Majumdar – FG

 

Washington DC - Things are starting to look up for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, says the top Pentagon official overseeing the programme.

 

If the trend holds up, by 2019, the F-35 programme will deliver a “fifth-generation aircraft at fourth-generation prices,” says US Air Force Lt Gen Christopher Bogdan, the F-35 programme executive officer.

 

While acquisition costs have to be held in check, the aircraft’s sustainment costs will also have to be affordable. The JSF programme is doing everything it can to drive cost down for the F-35, Bogdan says. Sustainment costs over the lifetime of the programme have dropped from a 2010 projection of $1.1 trillion to a current projection of $857 billion. The new cost figures are based on more real world data from F-35 operations and more operationally representative assumptions about the use of the aircraft.

 

As foreign customers start buying the F-35, the programme office is working to develop unique sustainment cost models for each individual nation for their particular set of circumstances, Bogdan says.

 

However, one area that still needs work is repair and maintenance costs, “which is not where it needs to be,” Bodgan says. The reliability of some components has sometimes not lived up to expectations — one example cited by Bodgan: the tyres for the F-35B.

 

Other aspects which have been problematic on the F-35 programme, are well on their way to being fixed or have already been fixed, Bogdan says. A redesigned tail hook for the naval F-35C will be tested in late October or early November. Sea trials for that variant will be held next year.

 

Meanwhile, the aircraft’s fuel dump system has been more or less fixed, Bogdan says. It is “not perfect”, he says, but the system works.

 

Similarly, the aircraft’s troublesome helmet is making progress. However, Bogdan says that both the original Vision Systems International helmet and the BAE developed alternative will continue to be developed until it culminates in a competitive fly-off.

 

Software is still the single biggest concern for the F-35 programme, Bodgan says. However, Lockheed officials express their firm belief that they will deliver the remaining software on time.

 

On the financial side, the F-35 has survived the Congressional sequestration law intact. The programme was expected to lose a number of tails in fiscal year 2013, but Bodgan says the programme was able to “buy back” those aircraft because of reduced prices.

 

The reduced cost can be partly attributed to a much-improved relationship between the contractor and the government.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Netherlands cuts F-35 fleet plan to 37 fighters

Sept. 17, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG

 

London - The Netherlands’ government has confirmed the selection of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to replace the nation’s aged F-16s, but its purchase is likely to be for fewer than half of the number of aircraft previously anticipated.

 

Included as part of a budget announcement made on 17 September, the decision will lead to the introduction of the nation’s first frontline examples at Volkel air base from 2019.

 

“The replacement will be carried out entirely within the previously reserved investment budget of €4.5 billion [$6 billion] and the current operating budget for the F-16, which amounts to €270 million per year,” the government says. “Based on the current insights, the available financial room is sufficient for the purchase of 37 aircraft.

 

“The defence organisation will from now on base its plans on that number, and will inform its partners in the F-35 programme accordingly.”

 

Previous plans had called for the Royal Netherlands Air Force to eventually receive up to 85 Joint Strike Fighters, but this total has for some time exceeded the size of its now-dwindling F-16 inventory. In its announcement, the government says a further seven of the current type will be withdrawn in 2014, cutting the fleet size to 61 aircraft, with three squadrons. The type will leave Dutch use in the mid-2020s.

 

Citing the need for “careful consideration and astute choices” during a time of budget pressure, the government notes: “Opting for a modest number of the best aircraft attests to a sense of reality.” The F-35 was selected on “operational, financial and economic grounds”, and “is also the most future-proof option”, it adds.

 

Noting that the unit price for its conventional take-off and landing F-35As is not yet known, it comments: “Should any unexpected major changes occur in terms of product, time or money, the project will be reviewed within the given financial parameters, if those changes exceed the margins of the project budget.”

 

However, the statement notes: “If, within the given financial parameters, room is created in the coming years to purchase more aircraft, the defence organisation will do so. This may be the case if the [10%] contingency reserve is not used in full and if the price per unit of the F-35 turns out to be lower than is currently expected.”

 

The air force should be able to manage effectively with its more capable F-35s, says the government, which is also eyeing potential savings to be made through “international co-operation in areas such as training, sustainment and deployment”. A proposed bilateral quick reaction alert agreement already being discussed with Belgium would also reduce the impact of maintaining such an air policing capability in both nations, it adds.

 

Pointing to a more than 30-year relationship established with the air force via the F-16, Lockheed says the F-35 will provide “the very best aircraft capabilities possible for the Netherlands’ national security”.

 

The positive decision should also clear the way for two test aircraft already delivered to support initial operational test and evaluation activities to be returned to flight status. The pair were grounded earlier this year, pending the outcome of the formal selection decision.

 

Other potential candidates for the Dutch F-16 replacement had included offers of the Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 18:50
JSF Jet Fighter Purchase Gets Green Light After 18 Years: Telegraaf

Sept. 17, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Dutch News; published Sept. 17, 2013)

 

The Netherlands will go ahead with the purchase of the controversial JSF jet fighter, despite objections, the Telegraaf reports on Tuesday. The decision brings to an end 18 years of political dithering about the wisdom of spending so much money on an aircraft when the defence ministry is struggling to find €1.33bn in cuts, the paper says.

 

The Netherlands will buy 37 JSF jets which will keep the cost within the €4.5bn special budget set aside for the purpose. They will cost an additional €270m a year to keep in the air, the Telegraaf reports, quoting sources in The Hague.

 

Vision

 

Defence minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert will confirm the buy when she unveils her vision for the future of the armed forces later on Tuesday, the paper says. Because of the careful budgeting, it is possible the Netherlands will buy more JSFs at a later stage, the Telegraaf said.

 

The JSF will gradually replace the aging F-16 fleet between 2019 and 2023. Earlier this month, sources said the Labour party, which had opposed the purchase of the JSF, was now in favour of the plan, clearing the way for cabinet approval. One Dutch jet is currently undergoing test flights and a second test aircraft is due to be delivered this year.

 

The issue has divided parliament for years, because of the high cost of the new American-built aircraft. There has also been criticism in the US over the mounting costs and delays.

 

Missions

 

A report by the Clingendael foreign policy institute earlier this year said an armed forces which includes the controversial JSF jet fighter is the least attractive scenario for the future of the Dutch military.

 

Clingendael says the JSF will only be needed if the Netherlands wants to take part in the opening phase of military interventions. The Netherlands rarely takes an active role.

 

But the high cost of the JSF will lead to ‘serious limitations’ to the country’s maritime operations – such as the role the Netherlands currently plays in protecting commercial shipping against pirates.

 

 

(EDITOR’S NOTE: If the Dutch budget of €4.5 billion will buy 37 aircraft, the average unit price works out to €121.6 million (approx. $158 million) per aircraft.

On the basis of annual operating costs of €270 million, the total operating cost of the fleet over 30 years works out to €8.1 billion, plus 30 years’ worth of inflation.

Of course, the Telegraaf story did not mention how any flight hours are included in the operating costs, so a more detailed analysis of the Netherlands’ cost estimates will have to wait for the defense minister’s official announcement.

It should be noted that the Netherlands originally planned to buy 85 F-35s.)

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 16:20
F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighters from the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.,

F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighters from the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.,

17/09/2013 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr

 

En dépit des énormes surcoûts et des graves problèmes techniques du F-35, les Pays-Bas vont pourtant acheter 37 avions de combat de Lockheed Martin pour équiper leur armée de l'air.

 

En dépit des énormes surcoûts financiers et des graves problèmes techniques du F-35, les Pays-Bas vont finalement acheter 37 avions de combat de Lockheed Martin pour équiper leur armée de l'air, ont indiqué ce mardi à l'agence Reuters deux sources proches du dossier. La ministre néerlandaise de la Défense, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, doit annoncer cette décision dans la journée de mardi dans un document définissant sa vision à long terme pour l'armée néerlandaise, qui tourne le dos à l'Europe. Initialement, La Haye devait acheter 85 F-35 pour remplacer une flotte vieillissante de F-16AM. Une décision qui sonne comme un nouvel échec politique pour les partisans d'une Europe de la défense et alors que même le Canada, fidèle allié des Etats-Unis, s'interroge sur l'achat de cet appareil.

Le gouvernement néerlandais a prévu 4,5 milliards d'euros dans son budget pour le renouvellement de sa flotte de chasse, auxquels il faut ajouter 270 millions d'euros de coûts d'entretiens d'annuels. Le F-35 Joint Strike Fighter a été conçu pour devenir le chasseur de nouvelle génération de l'US Air Force et des alliés des Etats-Unis, mais son développement a pris plusieurs années de retard en raison de problèmes techniques et d'une hausse des coûts, 70 % plus élevés que prévu. Si la commande de F-35 est confirmée, les Pays-Bas seraient le septième pays à faire confiance à Lockheed Martin après la Grande-Bretagne, l'Australie, l'Italie, la Norvège, Israël et le Japon. Washington essaie de convaincre le Canada de rejoindre cette liste. 

 

Le F-35, un appareil pour tuer l'industrie aéronautique européenne

Cet appareil devait remiser tous ses rivaux dans les musées, Rafale compris. Ce qui est loin aujourd'hui d'être le cas compte tenu de ses graves problèmes techniques. Et le F-35 avait également une mission officieuse : torpiller l'industrie aéronautique militaire européenne, notamment en France, seul pays à maîtriser l'ensemble des technologies pour développer et industrialiser un avion de combat, à l'exception de la Russie. "Pour mieux la vassaliser", rappelle un expert du ministère de la Défense.

"Il faut bien savoir que les Américains souhaitent casser notre industrie de défense pour accroître leur domination mondiale, car nous sommes leur seul concurrent ", expliquait dans l'indifférence générale en mai 2002 Serge Dassault dans une interview accordée à "La Tribune".

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
10,5 millards $ à risque sans le contrat des F-35

13/09/2013 Par Ross Marowits La Presse Canadienne

 

MONTRÉAL – Un directeur senior du géant de la défense Lockheed Martin soutient que l’industrie aéronautique canadienne pourrait perdre environ 10,5 milliards $ en contrats étalés sur plusieurs décennies si le gouvernement fédéral choisit de ne pas aller de l’avant avec sa commande controversée de 65 avions de chasse F-35.

 

Le vice-président exécutif de Lockheed Martin, Orlando Carvalho, affirme que la compagnie respectera des contrats d’une valeur totale de 500 millions $ déjà accordés à des partenaires canadiens, mais que d’autres contrats seront à risque sans la commande du gouvernement canadien.

 

«Si le gouvernement canadien décidait de ne pas choisir les F-35, nous respecterions certainement les engagements que nous avons pris avec l’industrie canadienne, mais notre approche, à l’avenir, serait d’essayer de faire des affaires avec les industries des pays qui nous achètent des avions», a-t-il affirmé lors d’un entretien suivant l’ouverture officielle des nouvelles installations d’inspection des moteurs à Montréal.

 

La compagnie Lockheed Martin estime que l’industrie canadienne pourrait potentiellement recevoir 11 milliards $ de contrats sur 25 à 40 ans, période pendant laquelle elle pourrait construire 3000 avions pour les armées de partout dans le monde.

 

Près de 72 entreprises canadiennes ont obtenu du travail à travers le projet des F-35. Industrie Canada a calculé que la valeur potentielle pourrait être de 9,8 milliards $ US, incluant les montants des contrats déjà accordés.

 

Ottawa évalue les solutions de rechange potentielles à son plan initial, qui était d’acheter 65 appareils F-35. L’an dernier, un rapport de la firme de services-conseil KPMG avertissait que la facture totale, incluant service et entretien, pourrait s’élever à 45,8 milliards $ sur 42 ans.

 

M. Carvalho affirme que Lockheed continue de réduire le coût de ses F-35. Les avions coûteraient au Canada autour de 75 millions $, au coût d’aujourd’hui, ou environ 85 millions $ avec inflation lors de leur éventuelle livraison en 2018.

 

«À mesure que les lignes de production et les connaissances gagnent en efficacité, que nous construisons de plus en plus d’avion et que la production augmente, le coût des avions ne peut que baisser», a affirmé M. Carvalho.

 

Il a ajouté que les particularités de l’avion, dont la technologie furtive et les capacités de surveillance, en font le choix idéal pour le Canada.

 

De son côté, le directeur de Boeing, le concurrent de Lockheed Martin, s’est dit la semaine dernière confiant que ses appareils F-18 Super Hornet puissent combler les besoins militaires canadiens à moindre coût.

 

Selon James McNerney, ce n’est qu’une question de temps avant que le gouvernement canadien retourne en appel d’offres.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
Northrop Unveils F-35 Missile Protection System

ThNDR and Lightning: Northrop's ThNDR system is designed to protect the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from enemy missiles. (Northrop)

 

Sep. 16, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman on Thursday unveiled a new anti-missile laser protection system designed for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in Washington.

 

The Threat Nullification Defensive Resource — ThNDR for short, to compliment the F-35’s “Lightning” designation — is a progression from Northrop’s directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) family of systems.

 

DIRCM works by sensing by intercepting an incoming missile with a laser that confuses the seeker head on the weapon, causing it to lose track of the aircraft. The system has been highly successful, with installation on over 50 different platforms, but had yet to be mounted on a fighter jet in large part due to the challenge of getting a system to work with the tight turns and high speeds that pilots would be required to make in a combat situation.

 

Although not yet part of the F-35 program, Northrop is confident the Pentagon wants to incorporate some form of missile-protection into its fifth-generation fighter.

 

“We know that requirement does exist and it is on its way,” said Jeffrey Palombo, Northrop’s sector vice president and general manager for the Land and Self-Protection Systems Division. In an attempt to get ahead of potential competition, the company self-funded the research and design of ThNDR.

 

ThNDR was designed to meet specific size limitations for the F-35. It will be nestled next to the distributed aperture system (DAS), also designed by Northrop, and tap into the cooling system already in the fighter. Each jet will get a pair of systems, one on the top of the plane and one on the bottom, to create 360-degree coverage against threats.

 

A major feature of the F-35 is its low-observable design, vital to its stealth capabilities. Anything sticking off the plane could threaten those stealth characteristics, so ThNDR will be installed inside the jet, with a window cut out to allow the lasers to operate.

 

The company expects the requirement for a missile defense system to be included in the Block 5 upgrade, in the 2017 time frame, and be available for all domestic and international customers. “There’s no reason at all that it can’t be retrofitted” into an already-produced F-35, Palombo said, although he declined to go into details on what that might look like.

 

The system still has a way to go before completion, with testing planned in Northrop’s laboratories before the end of the year. While no requirement has been issued, Carl Smith, vice president of Infrared Countermeasures, said the company is keeping in touch with the F-35 Joint Program Office.

 

“We go talk with them periodically,” Smith said. “We share what our progress is. There’s obviously dialogue with Lockheed Martin. We keep everybody abreast of where we are and what’s happening. “

 

While designed for the F-35, Palombo said the company expects other fighters, such as the F-15, to eventually include a requirement for a DIRCM system.

 

“It’s really a fast jet capability,” Palombo said. “Look at the fact there aren’t going to be many new starts for airplanes. We’re going to be flying F-22s, F-16s, F-15s for a very long time, and they’re going to have to be protected, as well.”

 

The system could be mounted into the bottom of the airplane, or reconfigured to fit into a self-contained pod that can be attached to the bottom of a jet. It would also have the option to be liquid or air-cooled.

 

“We believe [the F-35 is] probably the first actual requirement proposal that will be coming down the pike,” Palombo reiterated. “It is very likely there will be others, either in parallel with that or immediately following that.”

 

Northrop executives describe ThNDR as a “sixth-generation” system, and the company is keeping an eye on what a seventh-gen system might look like. Smith, at least, believes that would likely involve higher-powered lasers in the “tens of kilowatts of energy.”

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
Les Pays-Bas vont acheter 37 chasseurs américains F-35

17/09/2013 Capital.fr

 

Les Pays-Bas vont acheter 37 chasseurs F-35 de Lockheed Martin pour équiper leur armée de l'air, ont indiqué mardi à Reuters deux sources proches du dossier.

 

La ministre néerlandaise de la Défense, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, doit annoncer cette décision dans la journée de mardi dans un document définissant sa vision à long terme pour l'armée néerlandaise, ont-elles ajouté.

 

Le F-35 Joint Strike Fighter a été conçu pour devenir le chasseur de nouvelle génération de l'US Air Force et des alliés des Etats-Unis, mais son développement a pris plusieurs années de retard en raison de problèmes techniques et d'une hausse des coûts, 70% plus élevés que prévu.

 

Anthony Deutsch; Tangi Salaün pour le service français

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
F-35 : Lockheed Martin met de la pression sur le Canada

13 septembre 2013 radio-canada.ca

 

Le géant de la défense Lockheed Martin soutient que l'industrie aéronautique canadienne pourrait perdre environ 10,5 milliards de dollars en contrats, étalés sur plusieurs décennies, si le gouvernement fédéral choisit de ne pas aller de l'avant avec sa commande controversée de 65 avions de chasse F-35.

 

Le vice-président directeur de Lockheed Martin, Orlando Carvalho, affirme que la compagnie respectera des contrats d'une valeur totale de 500 millions déjà accordés à des partenaires canadiens, mais que d'autres contrats seront à risque sans la commande du gouvernement canadien.

 

Ottawa évalue les solutions de rechange potentielles à son plan initial, qui était d'acheter 65 appareils F-35. L'an dernier, un rapport de la firme de service-conseil KPMG avertissait que la facture totale, y compris service et entretien, pourrait s'élever à 45,8 milliards de dollars sur 42 ans.

 

De son côté, la compagnie Lockheed Martin affirme qu'elle pourrait potentiellement accorder 11 milliards de dollars de contrats sur 25 à 40 ans à l'industrie canadienne, période pendant laquelle elle pourrait construire 3000 avions pour les armées de partout dans le monde.

 

M. Carvalho affirme que Lockheed continue de réduire le coût de ses F-35 et indique que les avions coûteraient au Canada autour de 75 millions, au coût d'aujourd'hui, ou environ 85 millions avec inflation lors de leur éventuelle livraison en 2018.

 

Il ajoute que les particularités de l'avion, dont la technologie furtive et les capacités de surveillance, en font le choix idéal pour le Canada.

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16 septembre 2013 1 16 /09 /septembre /2013 22:50
F-35 Weekly Update: 16th September 2013

09/16/2013 Defence IQ Press

 

 

Canada's aerospace industry could lose about $10.5 billion worth of contracts over several decades if the federal government ultimately decides not to purchase the controversial F-35 Stealth Fighter, says a senior executive at Lockheed Martin.

Orlando Carvalho, executive vice-president of the U.S. defence giant, says Lockheed will honour $500 million worth of business already awarded to Canadian partners but that other work would be in jeopardy without a Canadian jet order.

"If in fact the Canadian government were to decide not to select the F-35 we will certainly honour the contracts that we have here with the Canadian industry but our approach in the future would be to try to do business with the industries that are in the countries that are buying the airplane," he said in an interview after officially opening its new engine overhaul facility in Montreal.

Carvalho said Lockheed estimates that Canadian industry could potentially receive $11 billion of contracts over 25 to 40 years as its builds 3,000 planes for air forces around the world.

About 72 Canadian companies have secured work on the F-35 project. Industry Canada has estimated that the potential value could be US$9.8 billion, including the amount of contracts already awarded.

Gilles Labbe, the former head of aerospace cluster Aero Montreal and CEO of F-35 supplier Heroux-Devtek (TSX:HRX), last year warned that thousands of jobs would be at risk if lead manufacturers Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman remove work destined to be completed in Canada by members of the global supply chain. [Huffington Post Canada]

 

 

Thirteen British companies and the U.K. Minister of Defence Equipment, Support and Technology participated in a Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] Industry Recognition Event during the DSEI tradeshow today. Over the next 40 years, British industry will continue to play a vital role in the F-35’s global production, follow-on development and sustainment, bringing strong economic benefits to the kingdom.

“The F-35 is the largest defence programme in the world,” said U.K. Minister of Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne. “The U.K.’s involvement will generate billions of pounds and tens of thousands of jobs for the British economy for decades to come, with over 500 suppliers across the U.K. already contributing to the production of the F-35. Backed by this government's strategic vision for U.K. aerospace, the F-35 programme allows us to continue to build on the strengths of our nations avionics, systems and sensors industry.”

Steve O’Bryan, vice president, F-35 Business Development, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics added, “Our suppliers here in the U.K. are essential to the success of this program. Together, they will produce 15 percent of each one of the more than 3,100 F-35s planned for the global fleet. We are leveraging their proud legacy of innovation in aerospace to deliver this unprecedented capability to the warfighter.”

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least ten other countries. [Your Industry News]

 

 

Northrop Grumman has begun company-funded development of a Directed Infrared Countermeasures (Dircm) system for fast jets, anticipating a requirement to protect the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from heat-seeking air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.

“We believe the requirement is there, and coming quickly, and that the first opportunity will be on the F-35,” says Jeff Palombo, senior vice president and general manager of Northrop’s land and self-protection systems division.

Northrop plans to begin testing a prototype of the Threat Nullification Defensive Resource (ThNDR) system in its system-integration laboratory by year’s end, he revealed at a briefing in Washington Sept. 12.

The timing for development of a laser missile jammer to equip the F-35 “is still in question,” Palombo says, “but we want to get out in front of the requirement.”

Northrop has supplied more than 3.000 Dircms to protect large aircraft and helicopters against heat-seeking missiles by directing a modulated laser beam into the seeker head to confuse its guidance.

A Dircm is not part of the requirements for the initial, Block 3-standard F-35 now in development. But draft requirements already exist and Northrop says a laser jammer is now expected to be part of the scheduled Block 5 update.

The system must meet low-observability (LO) requirements and be packaged to fit in a restricted space available inside the F-35. But it will have a smaller, more-powerful laser than current Dircm systems and require liquid cooling, Palombo says.

The ThNDR, which includes the laser, beam steering and LO window, is packaged to fit inside volume available alongside sensors for the F-35’s distributed aperture system (DAS). There would be two jam heads, one on top and one underneath the aircraft to provide spherical coverage with minimal change to the outer mold line.

The DAS, which has six infrared sensors located to provide a 360-deg. view around the aircraft, would provide missile warning, detecting and declaring incoming threats and cueing the pointer/tracker, or jam head. [Aviation Week]

 

The Pentagon’s top officer overseeing the F-35 program put Lockheed Martin, the lead contractor, on notice last year with some unexpected straight talk about his views of the program saying the relationship between Lockheed and the Pentagon’s Joint Program Office is the “worst I’ve ever seen.”

A year later, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan is set to return to the Air Force Association’s annual conference, but the same fireworks are not expected as the F-35 Joint Program Office and Congress has seen progress in the F-35 program.

Air Force leaders have said publicly they are confident the A-model of the F-35 – the Air Force’s version — will achieve initial operational capability by 2016.

Initial operational capability, or IOC, is the target date each service sets for fielding an initial combat capable force. The IOC dates for the different F-35s have changed several times, starting with 2010–2012, according to a March 2013 report on the program by the Government Accountability Office.

Currently, there are 78 F-35s flying today amongst the services to include the Marine Corps, according to Lockheed Martin.  The contractor expects to have 90 by the end of the 2013 and by the end of 2016 the military will have 200 F-35s in the air, and more than 50 percent of them by the Air Force, said Mike Rein, a Lockheed Martin spokesman.

The Defense Department next year plans to spend $8.4 billion to buy 29 F-35s, including 19 for the Air Force, six for the Marine Corps, and four for the Navy. The funding includes $6.4 billion in procurement, $1.9 billion in research and development, and $187 million in spare parts.

The missed deadlines and cost overruns of the F-35 Lightning II, the most expensive weapons system in U.S. military history, have been well documented. But there are some critics who have begun to offer praise to the program. [Air Force Times]

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16 septembre 2013 1 16 /09 /septembre /2013 12:35
Corée du Sud-Boeing bien placé pour une commande de chasseurs

16/09 LesEchos.fr (Reuters)

 

La proposition de Boeing pour remplacer la flotte vieillissante d'avions de chasse de l'armée sud-coréenne est la seule qui repond aux critères, a dit à Reuters une source au fait du dossier, citant des responsables chargés de l'achat d'équipements militaires.

 

Avec son F-15SE, l'avionneur américain l'emporterait ainsi face au F-35 de Lockheed Martin et au Typhoon du consortium Eurofighter, composé d'EADS, BAE Systems et Finmeccanica.

 

La source a précisé que le ministre de la Défense du pays, le patron de l'administration chargée de l'acquisition de programmes de défense (DAPA) ainsi qu'un responsable de l'armée de l'air ont rencontré vendredi la présidente sud-coréenne Park Geun-hye pour lui faire part de leurs conclusions.

 

Un porte-parole de la DAPA a confirmé la tenue de la réunion, tout en refusant de dire ce qui y avait été évoqué.

 

Suite de l’article

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16 septembre 2013 1 16 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
F-35  photo Lockheed Martin

F-35 photo Lockheed Martin

September 13, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: U.S Department of Defense; issued September 12, 2013)

 

Pentagon Contract Announcement

 

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $149,041,442 fixed-price-incentive-firm modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-12-C-0004) for the redesign and qualification of replacement F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Electronic Warfare system components due to current diminishing manufacturing sources.

 

Work will be performed in Nashua, N.H. (73 percent); Fort Worth, Texas (23 percent); Orlando, Fla. (2 percent); Crestview, Fla. (1 percent); and Greenville, S.C. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2018.

 

Fiscal 2011 aircraft procurement Navy, fiscal 2011 aircraft procurement, Air Force, and international partner funding in the amount of $149,041,442 are being obligated on this award, $117,340,327 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

 

 

This contract combines purchases for the Department of the U.S. Air Force ($94,000,000; 63 percent), U.S. Navy ($12,340,327; 8.3 percent), U.S. Marine Corps ($11,000,000; 7.4 percent), and international partners ($31,701,115; 21.3 percent).

 

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

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