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F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)

GK .Dundas

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Jim Seggie said:
You know, I am perplexed.

It seems every freakin moron out there is a procurement  and defense expert when the CF needs a new ship, fighter or tank.

The letters to the editor really prove how dense some people are.

:facepalm:
Sadly you could say the same about most editorials and articles as well.From what I've seen from the average journalist or TV reporter. They probably have a good legal case to sue whatever university gave them a a journalism degree for failure to fulfill a  contractual obligation.
I mean it's not like the information isn't readily available and out there (Google anyone?) And surely someone with even a minor amount of life experience should be able to separate the wheat from the chaff as it were.
Canadian defence journalism is almost an oxymoron !
 

WingsofFury

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CDN Aviator said:
To what end ?

The program is a political issue. The oposition will not win any points debating technical matters as most Canadians either do not care or do not understand. The media won't use time/space on tech, it's boring.

The PR battle over the F-35 was lost a long time ago. Canadians, it seems, are not "buying it". The tech stuff is now just a sideshow. The government can drum up all the number it wants, it will just end up looking like fudging numbers to justify continuing.

Major procurement is always a political issue.

I hate it when you're right.... :p
 

Haletown

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Things we won't find out about the F-35 from our parliament or media sources. 

http://tinyurl.com/7y6ojje

p 56 ->

Seems Air Power Australia gets p-owned a couple of times and that should set off a tsunami of Eric Palmer rants for the amusement of all.

Have to see if this gets any coverage here.  It does not support the screaming hysteria meme so it is likely to be ignored.

 

drunknsubmrnr

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It looks like Air Vice Marshal Osley cried "classified" when something damaging to the program looked like it was getting out. I don't see how a variation on "We're going to run away really quick if we're seriously outgunned" would have been all that damaging to security.
 
A

aesop081

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Interesting.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/04/super-hornet-jsf/

On Friday, the Navy quietly released a “market survey” asking the big defense contractors for their “candidate” for “strike fighter aircraft” in the decades to come. Which is a little weird, considering the Pentagon is currently spending a trillion dollars on just such an aircraft: the troubled Joint Strike Fighter.

The stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is supposed to one day make up 90 percent or more of America’s combat aviation power. But the program has been hit with all kinds of expensive technical glitches and delays. So the Navy has long hedged against the giant JSF bet by buying more of its beloved F/A-18 Super Hornet; that way, the Navy can keep flying modern fighters, even if the JSFs slip. With this “market survey,” the Navy appears to be making a second hedge: a Son of the Super Hornet — one that would come online after the F/A-18s are retired in the 2030s — just in case the JSF flames out entirely.

“That’s absolutely not the right interpretation,” says Capt. Frank Morley, the Navy’s program manager for the Super Hornet and its cousin, the EA-18 jamming Growler. But if the Son of the Super Hornet isn’t a hedge against the JSF becoming too expensive for the cash-strapped military, then the aircraft carrier decks of the future may be stocked with redundant planes.

After the Super Hornets retire, the Navy wants “a multi-role strike capability” that can fly from a carrier, according to the “market survey” that the Navy released Friday. Some of its primary missions: “air warfare (AW), strike warfare (STW), surface warfare (SUW), and close air support (CAS).”

And that sounds suspiciously like the role that the Navy’s version of the JSF is supposed to play. That plane, already the most expensive weapons program in the history of mankind, is in serious budget trouble. In addition to newly discovered design flaws, the Government Accountability Office last month found additional problems with its software and safety systems. The military wants the F-35 to ultimately replace nearly every tactical fixed-wing aircraft the Navy, Marines and Air Force fly, but the admiral in charge of the program has backed off the 2018 estimate for when the plane is expected to enter the air fleet.


So the Navy has bought more Super Hornets as delays plague the JSF. At the Navy’s annual Sea Air Space convention, Morley self-congratulated by noting that the Super Hornet is “on time, on cost, and on schedule.”

But the Son of the Super Hornet, the Navy’s survey swears, isn’t supposed to be a backup in case the JSF fails. Instead, it will be a “complementary … asset to the F-35C and an unmanned persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) vehicle with precision strike capability.” In other words, it’ll fly in a carrier air wing alongside the JSF and the Navy’s future carrier-based drone, currently known as the X-47B.

But if so, that raises a question of redundancy. Both the JSF and the post-Super Hornet plane would be performing very similar manned strike missions. (Although the survey doesn’t suggest the post-Super Hornet will need to be stealthy, a central asset of the JSF.)

Morley strongly denies that the Son of the Super Hornet poses a threat to the JSF or will replicate its missions. “We are an all-F-18 fleet today,” Morley tells Danger Room. “In that 2020-2030 time frame, those decades, we intend to be a Super Hornet-JSF fleet. And then those Super Hornets are going to be aging out, those earlier ones, and we need to be a JSF-and-something-else fleet.”

But then what will the something else be? What will keep the Son of Super Hornet from redundancy with the JSF?

“Don’t know,” Morley concedes. “That’s the point of the whole analysis. What do we need it to do? What will the threat be then? What will JSF be able to cover? What additional capabilities might we need? That’s all the stuff we’re starting to look at now.”

Other Navy officials are just as emphatic. “This is prudent planning on the Navy’s part,” argues Rob Koon, a spokesman for the Navy’s tactical aircraft program. “Every airframe needs to have a follow-on replacement.” His boss, Marcia Hart, adds, “There has to be something after the Super Hornet.”

There’s a sense in which that’s correct. The program for the Super Hornet replacement, officially called the FA-XX and announced last week in the Pentagon’s 30-year aviation plan, might not necessarily yield a new aircraft. It could. But as the program goes on, the brass might decide that the JSF in fact does what the Navy needs a post-Super Hornet plane to do. Or it might even decide that the post-X-47B is a better substitute.

Put another way, it might be best to think of the FA-XX as a placeholder constant, like in physics or math, necessary for making a formula operate, rather than a definite thing on its own.

But there’s also a chance that the post-Super Hornet will turn out to be exactly what it sounds like: another strike jet, designed for the seaborne attack missions that the Navy’s F-35 variant is supposed to perform. Even 20 years from now, Super Hornet’s son could be picking up the JSF’s slack.
 

drunknsubmrnr

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I think this article has some good points on Canada's role in the world, and raises a good question on the similarities between the F-35 and the A-400.

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/story_print.html?id=6469192&sponsor=

F-35 debate should be about Canada’s role in the world


BY EUGENE LANG, THE OTTAWA CITIZENAPRIL 18, 2012


‘Minister, we don’t buy paper airplanes.” This point was made to John McCallum, then minister of national defence, by the Canadian military leadership, about a decade ago. It was not some euphemistic throw-away line. Rather, it was a simple way of articulating a matter of high principle that had reached the level of theology in the Defence Department.

The comment was in the context of a discussion about replacing Canada’s aging fleet of C-130 transport aircraft. Some people were urging the government to purchase an airplane then under development, but not in production, nor in service anywhere in the world — an airplane called the A-400M. This, according to the military leadership, was a “paper airplane” that Canada simply could not consider acquiring.

The logic of staying clear of paper airplanes was compelling. Because the air force replaces its various fleets so infrequently — about once every 30 years or so — neither the military nor the government can afford to take the risks associated with buying developmental technology. Instead, Canada must only buy aircraft that are proven, in service, and “on the shelf,” rather than on a drawing board.

Like the A-400M then, the F-35 fighter aircraft today is not in service with any air force anywhere in the world. In fairness, the F-35 is a real, flying aircraft, yet it still needs testing and is not in mass production (which is why the minister of national defence, Peter MacKay, climbed into the cockpit of a life-size cardboard replica of the F-35 when the government announced its intent to acquire these planes in 2010).

Why have the military and the government violated this high principle of aircraft procurement and decided to acquire a technology that will not be in operation in any country for several years to come?

The answer seems to be that the F-35 is the only plausible “fifth generation” fighter aircraft to replace Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18s. What is fifth generation? Essentially, it means a plane that has some of the most advanced technology, and in particular “stealth” capability, so it can evade detection by some common types of radar, either from the ground or the air.

Why does Canada need that type of capability to replace the F-18s?

Canada’s fighter aircraft perform two primary functions: first and foremost domestic and continental air defence, in partnership with the Americans, and secondly international operations. It is implausible to argue that Canada’s fighter aircraft must have stealth capability for domestic and continental operations and the government hasn’t made that case.

However, stealth technology is particularly important if your air force is being deployed at the “pointy” end of conflicts with countries that have substantial air defences — think of Iran, North Korea, China or Russia for example. Indeed, that is why stealth technology was developed in the first place. In such conflicts, one can very plausibly argue that stealth technology is a very important asset — above all for “first day of war” air strikes through and against air defence systems.

Military leaders are often criticized for fighting the last war. Acquiring fifth-generation fighters for Canada is most certainly not about fighting the last war. Since the end of the Cold War, Canada’s F-18s have been deployed internationally very sparingly and very carefully, and not in this type of role.

The decision to acquire the F-35, therefore, is about fighting the next war, or at least the war the military leadership and the government seems to believe Canada will need to fight. This is not a war we have fought in the last 60 years.

This is the heart of the F-35 issue, and it is the one part of the debate we are not having. The F-35 controversy has been reduced to the cost of the planes, the industrial benefits to Canadian industry, aircraft delivery schedules, accounting issues and who knew what and when. But the real issue is much more fundamental than any of that.

At its root, the decision to acquire the F-35 is a basic matter of Canadian foreign policy. It is about Canada’s role in the world. At an even higher level it is about the values and interests that underpin and inform our foreign policy and role in the world.

What could be more fundamental than that?

That is the debate we need to have in connection with the CF-18 replacement. It is the debate we haven’t had because it would be far more wrenching and uncomfortable than the relatively trivial discussions we have had to date in connection with this acquisition. And consequently, it is the debate we will likely not have.

Eugene Lang is an award winning and best selling author, commentator, former federal political adviser, former Finance Canada official and co-founder of Canada 2020 — Canada’s Progressive Centre. He is co-author of The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar.
 

GAP

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Peter MacKay back in hot seat with latest DND procurement bungle
John Ivison  Apr 19, 2012
Article Link

Yet another defence procurement embarrassment is about to hit the Conservative government, which is already reeling from criticism of its handling of the F-35 purchase by the Auditor-General.

It is understood that the $2-billion competition to chose a supplier for up to 138 armoured infantry fighting vehicles may have to start all over again after the Department of Public Works intervened in the tender process.

Peter MacKay, the Defence Minister, and Julian Fantino, the Associate Minister for Procurement, are under pressure for their role in the F-35 saga, with the opposition parties calling for their heads.

~~political rant & stuff ~~


The $2-billion close combat vehicle project has highlighted the tension between National Defence and Public Works.

The new, medium-weight infantry support vehicle is intended to fill the gap between the LAV IIIs that were hit so often by improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and the Leopard C2 tank.

Three bidders were chosen – French giant Nexter, General Dynamics Land Systems and BAE/Hagglunds – but sources suggest that all failed tests set by National Defence. A bidders’ conference was convened by DND to discuss price and technical modifications. However, the meeting was cancelled by the independent Fairness Monitor, which deemed it may have been unfair to bidders that did not make it onto the short-list and expose the government to lawsuits.

The process has now ground to a halt and Public Works Minister, Rona Ambrose, wants it to start over again, to avoid accusations of bid-rigging. National Defence is believed to prefer to modify the specifications and move forward with the existing bidders.

The concern within National Defence is that Public Works is expanding its role as the overseer of all major procurement projects, not just the F-35. Sources suggest those fears are well founded and the government’s plan is to have Public Works conduct all military procurement after the Forces have written the statement of requirement that details what they need.

According to one person on the inside, the whole procurement process is a study in dysfunction. The military, with no war to concern itself with, is venting its aggression on Public Works and the civilians in its own department, who claim they are told only what the uniforms want them to know. At the same time, the politicians and the bureaucrats are having their own battles. Mr. MacKay and his deputy minister, Rob Fonberg, are said to be barely on speaking terms since the Auditor-General’s report landed.
More on link
 

Haletown

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Let's give Mr. Ivison  credit for recognizing the thingy with tracks as being a tank.

Major step forward for the ink stained wretches who toil away on our behalf exposing government incompetence.

Next step,  a brief course in AFV recognition.



 

lethalLemon

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Couldn't take the article seriously after I read "Leopard C2."

This isn't the 70's Mr. Ivison.
 

Remius

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I don't know how Mr. McKay will survive this.

I am the first to admit he is a great MND, possibly one of the best but...

When you add everything up from helicopter rides to F-35 and who knows what else is being looked into, public perception is eroded to the point of no return and confidence is lost.

I would not be surprised to see a quiet cabinet shuffle over the summer when the house isn't sitting and seeing McKay moved to another profolio.  Fantino might end up at the helm.  To save face McKay will be moved to a troubled department like veteran's affairs or Indian affairs under the guise of being sent there to "fix" things.
 

GAP

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Lord, do not let Fantino become MND......

He will throw anyone/anything under the bus to feather his own nest....
 

The Bread Guy

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Crantor said:
I don't know how Mr. McKay will survive this.

I am the first to admit he is a great MND, possibly one of the best but...

When you add everything up from helicopter rides to F-35 and who knows what else is being looked into, public perception is eroded to the point of no return and confidence is lost.
He'll survive as long as the PM is OK with him being in the chair.  I haven't seen too much (public?) evidence of the PM not supporting him at this point.

Meanwhile, a bit more of the latest:
Members of the public accounts committee gathered in Ottawa Thursday for a special meeting to discuss the auditor general’s report on Canada’s contentious F-35 purchase plans. But opposition members faced roadblocks in launching a comprehensive probe as the majority Conservatives used their power in the all-party committee to postpone discussion of who would appear until next week.

The meeting also provided no guarantee from the ruling party whether a planning session Tuesday, where potential witnesses will be discussed, would be open to public scrutiny or remains behind closed doors as many committee meetings have been since the last election.

“They’re looking to control the witness list,” New Democrat MP Malcolm Allen told The Canadian Press. A motion to study the issue and begin hearing from witnesses next week was filed by Liberal public accounts critic Gerry Byrne, with the backing of other opposition members of the committee. “Liberals called this meeting to get down to the business of hearing from witnesses on the F-35 immediately upon the return of Parliament,” Byrne said in a statement …. 
CTV.ca, 19 Apr 12

Conservative MPs have rejected a public debate about which bureaucrats and military officers will appear in front of parliamentarians to discuss the F-35 controversy, including allegations that some of them misled cabinet ministers and Canadians.

The House of Commons is closed for a two-week break, but the opposition convened an emergency meeting of the public accounts committee of the House on Thursday to launch its investigation into the planned purchase of new fighter jets.

All MPs agreed to hear from Michael Ferguson, the Auditor-General whose report earlier this month ignited the controversy over the cost of the planned military purchase and the lack of clear information provided to Canadians.

The NDP and the Liberal Party then tried to get an agreement on other witnesses, including Canadian Forces officers and bureaucrats who were directly involved in the file.

However, Conservative MPs used their majority on the committee to avoid any discussion of specific witnesses. The Conservatives decided to debate the list next Tuesday and to launch hearings on Thursday.

The opposition speculated the Conservative MPs will hold the planning meeting behind closed doors to protect federal officials who provided misinformation on the $25-billion project ....
Globe & Mail, 19 Apr 12
 

Edward Campbell

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Crantor said:
I don't know how Mr. McKay will survive this.

I am the first to admit he is a great MND, possibly one of the best but...

When you add everything up from helicopter rides to F-35 and who knows what else is being looked into, public perception is eroded to the point of no return and confidence is lost.

I would not be surprised to see a quiet cabinet shuffle over the summer when the house isn't sitting and seeing McKay moved to another profolio.  Fantino might end up at the helm.  To save face McKay will be moved to a troubled department like veteran's affairs or Indian affairs under the guise of being sent there to "fix" things.


If Peter MacKay was a "great MND" or even "one of the best" he would not be having these problems - a "great MND" would not be having his department's procurement taken over by Ms Ambrose's bureaucrats.

Operational military requirements, like "this tank" or "that airplane,"and government decisions about them are pretty much bomb-proof, so are sole source procurements: look at Minister O'Connor and the Chinook, the C-17, the C-130J and, and, and ...

What a "great MND," what a just barely above average MND would not have done is to mislead Parliament; his Deputy, his CDS and his senior bureaucrats and admirals and generals would never have allowed a good MND to take rubbish to parliament and pass it off as the truth - they would have respected, even feared him too much. Mr MacKay likes his job, he loves the CF but his job, his department and the military that is part of it does not return the affection: it, represented by the most senior bureaucrats and the most senior uniformed members, hung him out to dry. He's not a 19 years old subaltern standing, nervously, in front of his first platoon - he is the political master of DND and the CF, Mr Fonberg and Gen Natynczyk are supposed to work for him, to help him accomplish DND's aims, which include equipping the CF, but he has failed to inspire or direct them properly. The proof of that is that he is now in political trouble. It is survivable trouble - Canadians don't really care about their defence - but a "great MND" would not be there. When I was a nervous young subaltern the senior NCOs supported me and made sure I didn't make any "rookie mistakes" out in public, party because it was their duty, partly, I hope, because they saw that, given a bit of help, I might become a useful officer - Mr MacKay deserved at least that much from Fonberg and Natynczyk, he didn't get it, perhaps because they sensed he is a lot less than a "great MND."

 

Haletown

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F 35 cockpit design philosophy and results -


http://www.slideshare.net/robbinlaird/the-f35-cockpit

Very interesting but beyond my pay grade to evaluate.  Seems to make sense, let the machine operate the bits  & pieces and let the pilot think tactics.

Backs up the French/Rafale and Swedish/Gripen experiences in Libya where the pilots found themselves over worked in some missions.
 

Kirkhill

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So the F35 is a UAV with an on-board Weapons System Operator?
 

SupersonicMax

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Kirkhill said:
So the F35 is a UAV with an on-board Weapons System Operator?

No because it does not fly itself.  The pilot still needs to fly the aircraft, albeit aided by the Digital Flight Controls (just like the Hornet now).  Where it is new, is on the sensor fusion front.  Now, we need to gather information from different parts of the aircraft and fuse it ourselves (to a certain extent, some of this is done for us, but not nearly to the extent the JSF does it) and make tactical decisions based upon what we see.  Now, we will be presented with a single, blended source of reliable information and we will be able to better asses more quickly. 
 

Haletown

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Related . . .    How the helmet relates to the sensor fusion. 

Dutch source.

http://www.f35netherlands.nl/f-35-technische-data/helm/


 

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I'm impressed by the quality of that National Post article. It's a very good summary of the AG report.

The only thing I doubt is this:
However, Canadian companies would also be eligible for contracts associated with the program. Whether other partner countries who actually purchase the fighters would complain or otherwise intervene in this situation is unclear.

This is not what I understood from the MoU. I remember reading that contracts could be awarded only to partners purchasing the aircraft, but I have to admit it was not cristal clear.
 
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