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29 août 2013 4 29 /08 /août /2013 16:20
First Weapon Loading Tests for F-35A

August 29, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Air Force; issued Aug. 28, 2013)


Airmen Perform First Weapons Load Verification on F-35A


EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --- After months of preparation the weapons troop Standardization Load Crew from the 33rd Maintenance Group performed the first munitions load verification on the F-35A Lightning II here Aug. 27.


"Over the next couple of days, our 33d Fighter Wing maintenance professionals, alongside representatives from the F-35 Program Office and Air Combat Command, will validate weapons loading procedures. This involves loading and unloading laser-guided and GPS-guided bombs, and air-to-air missiles into the weapons bays of the aircraft and ensuring the instructions we provide our load crews are accurate and effective - one more step towards F-35 initial war fighting capability," explained Air Force Lt. Col. Ron Huzzard, deputy commander of the 33rd MXG.


The SLC has been practicing this load verification using a series of tabletop exercises for several months. This marked the first hands-on load verification for the crew.


"Watching our weapons troops verify loading procedures was like getting a glimpse into the future. Ultimately, this will be the work that is performed down range when it counts, and we are laying that foundation here at Eglin," said Navy Capt. Lance Massey II, commander of the 33rd MXG. "The stealth capability on the F-35 is beyond incredible, but the weapons capability rounds out the whole purpose of the joint strike fighter."


The procedure was overseen by Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Wilbur, wing weapons manager at the 33rd MXG.


"The Airmen walked through the technical instructions to verify the data is accurate and make adjustments as necessary," Wilbur said about the verification load exercise.


The three-person SLC included Air Force Master Sgt. Karen Griffin, Tech. Sgt. Russell Fontaine and Staff Sgt. Steven Dash. Working as a cohesive team, the trio carefully performed several iterations of loading and unloading four different munitions. Once the procedures are verified SLC members will train the weapon troops.


"Getting this step verified in ALIS (the automated logistics information system) for the F-35A is important, so we can move forward and get our 60-plus maintainers trained and working," Griffin said.

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26 avril 2013 5 26 /04 /avril /2013 11:35
Australia unveils its F-35 JSF 'Iron Bird'


CANBERRA, Australia, April 26 (UPI)


Australia will use a full-scale F-35A Joint Strike Fighter model to study the effects of electromagnetic compatibility and interference on the aircraft.


Minister for Defense Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon unveiled the JSF model at the laboratories of the Defense Science and Technology Organization, which will conduct the studies, a statement from the Australian Ministry of Defense said.


The Australian-built model -- called Iron Bird -- will be tested under simulated electromagnetic conditions during the acquisition and through-life sustainment of Lockheed Martin's JSF.


"This study is a significant part of ensuring the protection of the JSF against electromagnetic environmental effects such as lightning and static discharge, which can impair the performance and safety of aircraft," Snowdon said during a visit to DSTO laboratories in Adelaide.


Australia's first two F-35As are to be delivered to a training facility in the United States during 2014-15 when Australia starts training JSF pilots and maintenance personnel.


The fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II will replace Australia's McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighters and its retired General Dynamics F-111 bombers.


Snowdon said the JSF has sophisticated software and a structural airframe made of composite materials, a combination that exposes the aircraft to electromagnetic interference from natural phenomena and man-made sources, including telecommunication transmissions and radar.


"The impact of these interferences needs to be well understood and appropriately managed," Snowdon said.


"DSTO has developed world-class expertise in the investigation of electromagnetic radiation impact on aircraft and is engaged directly with the United States JSF Joint Project Office to undertake this study using the Iron Bird model.


"The data captured will help in providing potential reductions in the cost of owning the JSF fleet and enhancing the aircraft's capability."


Snowdon said DSTO's research will support verification for compliance and airworthiness certification for the JSF, as well as keep maintenance costs down.


The latest estimate of around $90 million per plane has raised concerns among politicians in Canberra about whether Australia can afford to buy the intended 100 F-35 aircraft.


U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, principal executive of the Pentagon's JSF Program Office, addressed the issue of F-35 cost overruns when he met with Australian defense officials at the Avalon air show in Melbourne in February.


Bogdan said his survey of the JSF program had uncovered "ugly" problems with the program but that his office had sought to have Lockheed Martin share the costs of fixing faults and covering delays, The Australian newspaper reported in February.


In the United States, there has been concern over estimates of the jet's weight amid continuing questions about delivery dates and final cost.


Outgoing Executive Vice President and JSF General Manager Tom Burbage was quoted in the U.S. news media as saying the manufacturer miscalculated on the aircraft's weight during its early development.


After spending 12 years fronting the Lockheed Martin F-35 program Burbage retired this month on an optimistic note but far from clear about the aircraft's ultimate cost and delivery schedule.


Burbage was named head of the F-35 program less than three weeks after the company beat Boeing to develop the aircraft. Then valued at $220 billion, the contract aims to build thousands of F-35 for the U.S. military and hundreds more for international partners, Flight International said on its website.

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