F-35 Launching Missile
May 30, 2014: F-35B launches two AIM-120 air-to-air missiles.
June 2, 2014: F-35C simulates aircraft carrier landings on a runway at NAS Patuxent River, MD.
June 6, 2014 U.S. Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Hostage in an interview says, "I’m
going to have some F-35's doing air superiority, some doing those
early phases of persistent attack, opening the holes, and again, the
F-35 is not compelling unless it’s there in numbers."
Furthermore, "Because it can’t turn and run away, it’s got to
have support from other F-35s. So I’m going to need eight F-35's to
go after a target that I might only need two Raptors to go
after. But the F-35s can be equally or more effective against that
site than the Raptor can because of the synergistic effects of the
platform.” He goes on to say, "The F-35′s cross section is
much smaller than the F-22′s. "The F-35 doesn’t have the
altitude, doesn’t have the speed, but it can beat the F-22 in stealth."
June 13, 2014: The British government announces that they will be spending
about the equivalent of US$12.6 million to build three special F-35B
landing pads at RAF Marham to withstand high exhaust temperatures.
June 23, 2014: F-35A engine fire during takeoff destroys aircraft while
pilot is unharmed. All F-35 aircraft are grounded through July 15, 2014.
July 14, 2014: F-35B does not make scheduled appearance at 2014 Farnborough
Air Show. F-35 testing will be extremely limited until cause and cure of engine fire are found.
Sept. 16, 2014: U.S.A.F. Lt. Col. Dan Ward writes about the Lockheed F-35 program:
"Complexity, cost, and development timeline all pointed to an ill-advisedly large,
pricey, and slow effort that was immediately on track to cost more, take
longer, and deliver less than promised."
Sept. 22, 2014: The U.S. Government Accountability Office says that long term costs of the Lockheed F-35 may "not be affordable".
The GAO states that the annual maintenance expenses for the majority of
aircraft that the F-35 is supposed to replace, those being the
Harrier, F-15, F-16, and F-18, amounted to US$11 billion in 2010. The GAO
estimated that to maintain the same number of replacement F-35 aircraft
it would cost US$19.9 billion annually in 2012 dollars.
It is estimated that the cost to fly a F-35 production aircraft for an
hour will be around $77,000. In 2012 the Harrier cost per hour of flight
was $18,926, F-15 $41,921, F-16 $22,514, the A-10 $17,716, and F-18
$32,044. The costs will probably grow higher as the aircraft age.
A large part of the cost difference is the mean time between critical
failures of legacy aircraft and the F-35. In 2014 the F-35 was
averaging 42 percent below its requirement anticipated at program
maturity. The GAO also said that the time necessary to repair F-35 aircraft is growing longer.
Sept. 25, 2014: South Korea orders 40 F-35 "B" models at a cost of around US$177.5 million each for deliveries from 2018 to 2024.
Nov. 3, 2014: U.S. Navy F-35C aircraft makes first successful arresting hook landing aboard carrier at sea.
Nov. 4, 2014: It was announced today that a joint investigation by
the U.S. Dept. of Defense and Pratt & Whitney to find the cause
of the engine fire that destroyed the F-35A aircraft on June 23, 2014 has
concluded that, "a hard rub between the rotor 3 and the
polyimide stationary seal on stator 2 led to excessive heating and
fracturing of the rotor in the fan section of the engine."
Nov. 12, 2014: The U.S. Naval Air Forces Public Affairs Office reported that the two F-35C aircraft
undergoing at-sea trials aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier have
completed a total of 57 successful landings without a single failure to catch an arresting cable.
The U.K. has committed to the purchase of four F-35B aircraft of a potential 14 aircraft purchase, less engines, but
including Lockheed "support costs", for about US$3.94 billion. The U.K. hopes to eventually have 48 F-35B aircraft ready for combat by the mid 2020's.
Nov. 24, 2014: Israel rejects buying an additional 31 Lockheed F-35
aircraft and cuts the second batch of F-35's to 13. A senior Israeli
official said, "For maintaining stealthiness, this aircraft has compromised maneuverability, shorter
operational range and significantly less payload capability. We shouldn’t be buying
so many of them when it is unclear whether the
stealth is effective, or there is a countermeasure that would negate it. There
are vast gaps in performance between the F-35 and fourth-generation
Nov. 27, 2014: Dummy British ASRAAM air to air missiles, duplicating the
weight and shape of the actual missiles, are fitted to the outboard
pylons of the F-35B to test the aircraft's abilities to carry the
weapons. It is anticipated that actual weapons will be tested and
fired in early 2015. The ASRAAM is a short range missile using infra-red homing.
Dec. 4, 2014: The U.S. Pentagon announced that it is possible that
the air-to-air missiles arming the F-35, such as the AIM 120, are
susceptible to jamming by aircraft that they may face in combat.
Also, Russia has developed missiles with a longer range that are far
less susceptible to jamming, according to U.S.A.F. officials. The
officials believe that it is possible that "some" missiles
would avoid jamming, but that the F-35 just doesn't carry enough
missiles to be effective, especially while flying in stealth with
only internally carried missiles. At present the F-35 only carries
four air to air missiles internally, and it is hoped that it can be
increased to a total of six missiles. Air Force intelligence chief
Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, retired, said it’s “critical” that the
F-35 moves “air-to-air weapons into a future where they can
effectively deal with adversary electronic attack."
Dec. 5, 2014: USAF reveals that the F-35 can "shut down" when fuel gets too hot.
Fuel trucks for F-35 aircraft are being painted white as a temporary solution
Dec. 11, 2014 A Canadian government report states
that the F-35 "has no clear edge" over any other currently
produced aircraft being considered for future purchase by Canada.
However, were Canada in the exceptionally unlikely position of having
to go to war with another country, if the F-35 were to perform as
advertised by Lockheed, it could have an advantage.
Dec. 23, 2014 A USAF F-35 program official says that F-35
air-to-ground sensors are over ten years old and obsolete. The F-35
also can not carry the infra red marker used by today's aircraft to
illuminate targets. The compromise was made to fit into the stealth
aircraft design. Currently flying aircraft can carry pods that have
higher definition images which can be seen at greater distances than those of the F-35. The F-35
does not have he ability to send the images in real time to ground troops, as do currently operating
aircraft. Eventually more funds will have to be appropriated to bring the F-35 up to date.
Jan. 6, 2015 In response to recent news stories regarding the F-35 gun not
being operational until 2019, Lockheed spokesman Mike Rein said, "The
requirement for the gun was established in 2005. It’s always been in the
block 3F weapons to be delivered in 2017, not 2019."
Further, the services know "that when they declare IOC [initial
operating capability] they aren’t going to have all their weapons on
their airplane at that time. Some of the additional
capabilities for consideration include items such
as Higher Definition Video, longer range target detection and
identification, Video Data Link, and Infrared (IR) Marker and
Pointer. All of the services and international partners are aware of the
block upgrade plan and have endorsed its timeline."
June 18, 2015: The Air Logistics Complex, Ogden, Utah, announced the completion of 24,000 hours in
modifications to two F-35B aircraft so they could be made ready for USMC IOC.