2012年10月10日水曜日

Beyond 2030 for The Next Fighter

日本に納入されるF35Aの型式が決まらないようだ。
 日本政府が米国から2017年3月末までに引き渡しを受ける次期主力戦闘機
F35Aの最初の4機の性能が、防衛省の要求を満たさない可能性があることが、
米国防総省の複数の資料で裏付けられた。

日本政府答弁書
・防衛省の要求する期限までに、同省の要求する性能を備えた機体が納入
 される。最終型F型の納入が可能を示唆。
・短距離ミサイルを搭載できる最終型の納入を前提に「防衛省の要求性能
 を備えた機体が納入される」。

米空軍や国防総省の資料
・F35Aが搭載予定の最新ソフトウエア「BLOCK3」には、短射程空対空ミサ
 イルなどを装備できる最終型のF型とそれができないI型の2種類がある。
・F型の米軍への納入は2017年8月
 2017年3月までにF型を日本に引き渡すのは米軍の規定により、原則不可能。
・日本に引き渡されるのは性能でF型に劣るI型になる可能性が高い。
・F型
  最大高度50,000ft
 I型
  最大高度40,000ft
  短距離ミサイルが搭載できず至近距離での対空戦が不可能
  BLOCK2と同程度の性能。

国防総省
・日本に引き渡すF35Aについて「(I型かF型か)まだ言えない」。

F35ソフトウェア開発進捗(2011)
・BLOCK 0.5
 2010年末後も試験項目78%は未確認。
 2011年 BLOCK 1.0と並行して、301項目中130項目を確認予定だった。
・BLOCK 1
 BLOCK 1A
  2011年初 耐空証明のため、200-400時間を予定
  2011年7-11月 飛行試験で確認済。
 BLOCK 1B
  2011年09月 90%を確認。センサ系、電子戦系、映像系、追加機能系
  2011年11月 35項目中12項目が良好となり、引渡し条件を満足。
        5項目は削除、18項目は性能に期待できない。
 IFFI、EOTSは2011年に遅延
・BLOCK2
 2012年中旬に4機を引き渡し予定。
 BLOCK2A
  2011年 10月上旬 試験装置(CATB)を使い、BLOCK1と統合し開発予定
  2011年 11月末 新予定では、F35に組込み飛行試験を開始予定。
      開発50%を完了、統合作業は30%。
 BLOCK2B
・BLOCK3
 30%が開発済みだが、代わりにBLOCK3i、BLOCK3fに二分割。

米国防総省は、第五世代戦闘機の開発が遅延し、F35の開発は失敗だったと
の報道もある。遅延による開発費や機体費も増大も問題とのこと。
予定通りに開発が進めば、2020年代まで、最先端のF35の優位性が確保でき、
第六世代の開発までに十分な時間があると考えていたようだ。
現在配備されている多くの戦闘機は、20年前から30年前に開発されたもの
で、旧型。米国内でも世代交代が難しくなり、海外ほ販売できる戦闘機も
アップグレードした旧型となる。第六世代は2030年以降とのこと。
F35の開発遅延は、シミュレータにも及び、操縦士要請や訓練も遅延。
英豪伊等は購入の延期、削減、中止になったようで、豪州は、納入しても
運用を変更するようだ。

F35は、ソフトウェアで、アップグレードと言われたが、BLOCK1とBLOCK2と
では装備品が異なるようだ。そのため、耐空証明が必要なはず。
米軍がアップグレードのために、飛行試験するとは考えにくいから、
アップグレードした機体を販売するのかもしれない。また一儲けするようだ。

嘉手納基地に配備されるF35は、F35A BLOCK0.5か。

エンジン損傷のF35 維持費1兆ドル以上
F35 アップグレードは誰が行う
空き缶要求
F35A値上げ
F-35B First Flight
防衛白書2012


F-35 glass cockpit - How to fly and drop bombs (Real Sim)


The F-35 Factory


 U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II Pilot Training Center


F-35A Lightning II (CTOL) 1st flight video - vertical landing, takeoff, hovering and flight


F-35B Lightning II (STOVL) First Flight Music Video


---「嘉手納基地にF35」 米国防副長官配備表明---
2012年10月4日 朝刊
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/world/news/CK2012100402000100.html

 【ワシントン=共同】カーター米国防副長官は三日、ワシントンで講演し、米軍の最新鋭ステルス戦闘機F35を米空軍嘉手納基地(沖縄県嘉手納町など)に配備する方針を表明した。
 機数や時期には言及しなかったが、普天間飛行場(同県宜野湾市)への配備が進む新型輸送機MV22オスプレイの安全性をめぐり懸念が広がる中、基地機能強化の動きに対する一層の反発を招く可能性がある。
 F35の嘉手納配備は軍備拡張を続ける中国軍を念頭に置いた措置とみられる。カーター氏は、アジア太平洋地域重視の国防戦略を踏まえ「最新装備をこの地域に最初に配備する」と強調した。
 嘉手納基地には中国や北朝鮮情勢をにらみ、F35と同様、高度なステルス性能を持つ戦闘機F22が米国内の基地からたびたび飛来し半年間程度暫定配備されている。F35について嘉手納に常駐させるか、F22と同様の形式を取るかは不明。
 米軍準機関紙「星条旗」は二〇〇六年、米空軍が十年以内に、少なくとも五十四機のF35を嘉手納に配備することを検討していると報じている。
◇    
 日本政府はF35を次期主力戦闘機に選定。最終的に四十二機を取得する計画。今年六月に最初に購入する四機分を、一機当たり約百二億円で米政府と契約した。


---次期戦闘機F35Aの4機が性能満たさない可能性 政府答弁と矛盾---
2012.10.3 11:16
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/news/121003/amr12100311180003-n1.htm

 【ワシントン=佐々木類】日本政府が米国から2017年3月末までに引き渡しを受ける次期主力戦闘機F35Aの最初の4機の性能が、防衛省の要求を満たさない可能性があることが2日までに、米国防総省の複数の資料で裏付けられた。
 短距離ミサイルを搭載できる最終型の納入を前提に「防衛省の要求性能を備えた機体が納入される」とした7月の政府答弁書と矛盾するのは明らかで、概算要求された13年度予算との整合性が問われるのは必至だ。
 米空軍や国防総省の資料によると、F35Aが搭載予定の最新ソフトウエア「ブロック3」には、短射程空対空ミサイルなどを装備できる最終型のF型とそれができないI型の2種類がある。
 F型の米軍への納入は17年8月で、これより前の17年3月までにF型を日本に引き渡すのは米軍の規定により、原則不可能だ。このため、日本に引き渡されるのは性能でF型に劣るI型になる可能性が高い。
 しかし、日本政府は、F35A購入をめぐる佐藤正久参院議員の質問主意書に対する今年7月の政府答弁書で、「防衛省の要求する期限までに、同省の要求する性能を備えた機体が納入される」と明記。最終型F型の納入が可能と示唆していた。
 日本政府の説明と、F35の開発実態には差があるが、国防総省は、日本に引き渡すF35Aについて産経新聞に対し「(I型かF型か)まだ言えない」と回答した。
 F型は最大高度5万フィート(約1万5千メートル)に対し、I型は4万フィート。I型は短距離ミサイルが搭載できず至近距離での対空戦が不可能で、前段階の「ブロック2型」と同程度の性能にとどまる。


---Pentagon Should Investigate Fighter Options Beyond The F-35---
October 01, 2012
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_10_01_2012_p58-500608.xml

In October 2001, when the U.S. Defense Department awarded Lockheed Martin the contract to develop the Joint Strike Fighter, it looked like the deal of the century for the company and its customer. In the largest defense procurement in history, Lockheed would produce three variants of one stealthy design to replace the mixed and aging fleets of three U.S. services, saving money and time.

Eleven years in, the deal still looks pretty good for Lockheed, but less so for its customers, including the eight international partners. In 2001, they expected by 2020 to be operating a large fleet of stealthy “fifth-generation” fighters.

Instead, the cost to develop and produce the aircraft has grown to $330.5 billion, far more than the original $177.1 billion estimate (both in 2012 dollars). Projections of operating and support costs for the F-35 have escalated far beyond the estimates of 2001, and fielding is years behind the original schedule. In fact, 11 years in, the exact timings-and capability levels-for initial operation of the three variants are still uncertain.

Before going farther down this cracked and broken path, the Pentagon needs to take a hard look at the consequences. On schedule and affordability, the JSF program is already a failure. In terms of capabilities and the long-term benefits of commonality, the jury is still out. And even if the F-35 delivers on everything it promised, the world has changed since 2001.

One problem is the lack of competition. Including the F-22, Lockheed will have been the sole U.S. producer of all-new fighters for 50 years by the time a “sixth-generation” aircraft comes along-no earlier than 2030-with significant consequences for the industrial base.

Faced with an ill-defined, but unacceptable trillion-dollar sustainment cost estimate for the F-35 fleet, the new tough-talking leader of the joint program office is considering abandoning the contractor-run support system and opening it to competition, including from government depots.

That might work long term, but it would do little to help warfighters stay ahead of threats through the 2020s. By 2021, U.S. forces will be operating only a fraction of the 2,400-plus F-35s they plan to buy. The bulk of U.S. fleets will comprise the same F-15s, F-16s and F/A-18s of 2001.

Some portion of that force will have been upgraded with the latest radars, avionics and weapons-at a cost that was not anticipated when the F-35 contract was awarded. But, for the most part, their airframes and engines will date back to the 1980s and 1990s, with all the costs and issues that come with age.

One bold plan might be for President Barack Obama or Republican rival Mitt Romney to commit the Pentagon to competing the purchase of its next 300 fighters. It would shake things up, although it is questionable the Pentagon could stage a meaningful competition between the F-35 with its estimated costs and promised abilities and the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 with known costs and available capabilities. And the value of new tails must be balanced against the impact of reducing F-35 procurement, potentially causing partners to defect, production rates to drop and costs to soar.

But complexity is no excuse for inaction. The Pentagon has begun to act by acknowledging there is a problem and publicly increasing pressure to perform. Step 2, also underway, is to gauge the severity of the problem and come to realistic acquisition and operating cost projections so the U.S. and its partners can decide what they can afford.

There must be a hedge against further problems. The U.S. should keep producing F/A-18s for the Navy, upgrading F-16s for the Air Force and promoting the F-15 and F-16 internationally so a fallback option remains open. Then, the Defense Department must revisit how to evolve tactical aviation through the 2020s and sustain the industrial base to keep competition alive for the next fighter.

The F-35's problems could provide an opportunity to adjust military plans to the new capabilities and realities that have emerged since 2001. Instead of the smooth transition to the fifth-generation fighter force envisioned then, the turbulent, mixed-fleet 2020s could bring a reason to rethink. Some military leaders already say U.S. relies too much on stealth-a technology China is moving rapidly to match. There is nothing to say the U.S. must wait beyond 2030 for the next fighter, or to introduce competition for the F-35.


---Air Force Expands F-35 Trials Over Tester’s Objections---
By Tony Capaccio - Sep 28, 2012 1:00 PM GMT+0900
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-28/air-force-expands-f-35-trials-over-tester-s-objections.html

The U.S. Air Force is expanding pilot training for Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter over objections from the Pentagon’s top weapons tester that the move increases the danger of a “serious mishap.”

After six months of limited check-out sorties for the plane, the Pentagon’s costliest weapon, the Air Force this month began 65 days of riskier training without ground-control personnel constantly monitoring instruments to warn of flaws.

Considering the aircraft’s “immaturity,” conducting the so-called uninstrumented training flights “entails significant risk with no benefit,” Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s testing director, wrote in a memo to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley obtained by Bloomberg News.

Gilmore’s concerns about flight training add to debate over the fighter program whose estimated cost has increased 70 percent since 2001 to $397 billion in current dollars while encountering flaws or delays with its software, a pilot helmet and aircraft deliveries. “Repair work” is needed to mend the Pentagon’s frayed relations with Lockheed over the F-35, General Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, said Sept. 18.

Michael Rein, a spokesman for the Bethesda, Maryland-based company, said in a statement Sept. 17, “We remain committed to continuing our work to solve program challenges and build on the momentum and success we’ve achieved during the past couple of years.” Welsh and Rein were commenting on issues other than the previously undisclosed training dispute.

Lockheed, the world’s largest defense contractor, rose 55 cents to $92.46 in New York trading yesterday and has gained 14 percent this year.
Florida Base

The Air Force started the 65-day “operational utility evaluation” of flying qualities, maintenance training, ground simulators and classroom courses on Sept. 10 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

Air Force Colonel Andrew Toth, commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing, said in a Sept. 7 press release that starting the drill “is another huge milestone.”

In a response to Gilmore’s criticism, Donley wrote, “We have taken great efforts to ensure that comprehensive safety and readiness reviews have been completed.”

Flights conducted at Eglin since March were a “deliberate and incremental approach” demonstrating the “system is ready for the next step,” Donley wrote in the response dated Aug. 27. The aircraft flew 121 sorties at Eglin since March for a combined 152.9 flight hours, according to service data.
‘Unprecedented Move’

The current exercise, if successful, would let the Air Force expand the number of pilots trained on the F-35 to 80 instructor pilots by December 2015 from five today. It would be a step toward training the first foreign pilots -- Dutch students -- by January 2013 and as many as 100 American student pilots a year by December 2016.

The Air Force eventually would need as many as 2,200 pilots to fly the 1,763 F-35s it plans to buy. The service has yet to determine when it intends to declare the fighter has reached initial combat capability.

In Gilmore’s memo, dated July 20, he wrote that “initiating training with an immature, non-combat-capable version of a fighter aircraft is unprecedented among prior analogous systems and is not now supported by the need for trained pilots.”

“I recommend strongly” that the test phase be delayed until the F-35 has “actual combat capability,” Gilmore wrote. Going ahead “poses risks of a serious mishap,” he said, and has nothing to do with combat capability because the F-35s at Eglin “have none.”
Telling Nothing

“Executing this training will tell us nothing about the difficulty and time required to actually train pilots to conduct air combat,” he wrote.

The testing dispute provides a window into tensions as the Pentagon’s civilian leaders seek to exert increased oversight of the plane.

Tougher oversight of the F-35 by Pentagon civilians began in February 2010 when then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates fired the military’s program manager and withheld $614 million in fees that Lockheed could have received.

Since then, the Pentagon has given increased scrutiny to contract proposals, delayed the purchase since 2010 of more than 400 planned aircraft until after 2017, and withheld payments to Lockheed because of a flawed cost-estimating system.
‘Abort Rate’

Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, said in February that putting the F-35 into production years before its first flight test “was acquisition malpractice.” Kendall was criticizing the practice known as “concurrency,” when limited production occurs in parallel with development flight tests.

Gilmore said the Air Force is following the same flawed approach in the expanded training. “Now, the pressure is to make training concurrent with flight testing,” he said in the memo.

A comprehensive review of the jet’s airworthiness, each aborted flight and deficiencies all show the evaluation can be conducted safely, Donley wrote in his response.

Gilmore stands by his memo and doesn’t find Donley’s rationale for pressing ahead “compelling,” spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said in a Sept. 10 e-mail.

The disagreement turns partly on “abort rates” for F-35 missions that had to be cut short, an Air Force measure used to assess an aircraft’s progress in development.

Air aborts often occur because a problem went undetected on the ground or didn’t occur until after the jet was airborne and is severe enough in terms of flight safety that the mission must be ended.
‘Not Improving’

The abort rate for F-35 test flights at Eglin and at Edwards Air Force Base in California “has been flat, that is, not improving,” Gilmore said in his memo.

The Air Force reviewed each mission abort, Colonel Dawn Dunlop, Donley’s special adviser on F-35 issues, said in a telephone interview.

“We’ve had many discussions with Dr. Gilmore’s staff,” she said. “We agree on the data. The only disagreement is in whether or not the risk is understood, is sufficiently mitigated and that there is smart plan to move forward. The Air Force thinks the answer is yes.”

Gilmore said the trend was also unchanged in discovering so-called Category 1 deficiencies, those that may cause death, injury or severe occupational illness and loss or damage to a weapon system.

As of July 9, 67 of the Category 1 deficiencies related to the F-35’s airframe, propulsion systems and support systems remained unresolved, according to Gilmore. “Twenty-eight are relevant to the intended” flight training at Eglin, he said.

Dunlop said in the interview that “every one of those was gone through line-by-line to see if there was sufficient mitigation in place.”

Donley and Gilmore “have different roles and different responsibilities and might come at this from different perspectives,” Dunlop said. “We have spent some time trying to reconcile those differences, but the Air Force feels confident in our assessment of the risk and the value of an independent evaluation at this point.”


---BAE Systems Australia to develop models for F-35 sustainment---
By:   Greg Waldron Singapore
09:47 28 Sep 2012
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/bae-systems-australia-to-develop-models-for-f-35-sustainment-377038/

BAE Systems Australia has won a nine-month contract to develop operational models for the integration of the Lockheed Martin F-35 into the Australian defence environment.

The company will work with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to create a model that covers all aspects of the F-35 sustainment, including maintenance, supply, training and fleet asset management.

"This contract will play a critical role in ensuring that [the Department of] Defence, industry and our ADF men and women are ready and prepared for a smooth transition when the Joint Strike Fighter comes into service," says John Managhan, director aerospace at BAE Systems Australia. "Our team will work to define the processes and information that will be required to ensure that the aircraft achieves its maximum operational effectiveness in any deployed environment."

An industrial partner in the F-35 programme, Australia could obtain up to 100 examples of the type.


---Air Force runs with new F-35 engine program---
 By 2ND LT. JESSICA RUSH / 33rd Fighter Wing
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 12:36 PM.
http://nwfdailynews.com/military/eglin/air-force-runs-with-new-f-35-engine-program-1.18165

An Airman seated in an aircraft, surrounded by electronic displays, surveys the cockpit of an F-35A Lightning II and begins rehearsed procedures that now feel comfortable. He feels the jet’s familiar rumble below as the engine roars to life on the flightline.
If you imagined the person in the seat as a pilot, in this instance, you would be wrong.
Last week, the first few maintenance personnel in the joint strike fighter program were certified on procedures for F-35A engine runs - two Air Force crew chiefs and two civilians from Air Force Engineer Technical Services. The accomplishment is yet another milestone toward organic maintenance capability, which reduces the need to rely on outside agencies.
“It feels pretty good starting the whole development of this program and being the first enlisted person to run an [F-135] engine,” said Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Pressley of the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.
Pressley completed his first engine run Sept. 10 and will be an instructor for the select few maintainers chosen to go through the engine run course.
The structure of the class is currently in the validation process. It was developed primarily by AFETS technicians Lou Sirois and Mike D’Ingillo, who combined have more than 40 years prior experience in the Air Force and an additional 17 years with AFETS. In June, they began working with instructor pilots on the program, and now serve as third-party certifiers for the Air Force on this critical course.
Once an experienced maintainer spends two days in the classroom with Pressley, he/she must pass tests on general and emergency procedures before moving on to a simulator. The training in the simulator allows maintainers to get comfortable with practicing for emergencies, such as an engine fire or uncommanded auto-acceleration that leads to “jumping chocks.”
Sirois or D’Ingillo will spend the last day of the course certifying maintainers to do engine runs on an actual jet.
“It’s a dynamic situation when you’re in there,” D’Ingillo said. “You need to be quick on your feet.”
Engine runs are a fairly common follow-on maintenance task, required after engine installations and for leak checks and operational checks of specific components, for example. As the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit builds up to full capability, engine runs will be part of daily operations.
“In a typical AMU, you’re doing multiple engine runs in a day,” said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Bennett, who leads the airframe powerplant general section. “It’s a great deal of responsibility.”
Previously, the unit could only use trained pilots to conduct engine runs.
Lt. Col. Lee Kloos, 58th Fighter Squadron commander, said initially running engines provided valuable training for pilots, but balancing the benefit of that exposure with managing pilot work load has become a challenge.
“We have a limited number of pilots available to support flight operations and maintenance. We continue to qualify our initial cadre pilots to fly the F-35A while the Operational Utility Evaluation (OUE) is underway as we anticipate a transition to formal syllabus training.” he said. “The OUE will include a complete checkout of the ground and flight operations segments of the syllabus, as well as a checkout of the logistics and maintenance procedures to ensure we are able to sustain a sufficient sortie generation rate.”
Tech.Sgt. Rawleigh Smith said the fifth generation aircraft technology requires the keen ability to monitor the Panoramic Cockpit Display while referencing a laptop with the necessary technical data. The engine lead for the 58th AMU is familiar with KC-135 maintenance, which he could check four engines at a time versus only running one F-35A engine.
“It is a daunting task for maintainers who have never run an engine before; however, the crew chiefs who will be selected for certification have previous experience on other airframes,” said Smith. “The more you do it, the more comfortable you get. It was fun.”
The next group of seven-level crew chiefs are scheduled to go through an official engine run course as early as the end of 2012.


---F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) DOD PROGRAM---
20120203 6:37:27
http://timemilitary.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/f-35-pages-from-2011doteannualreport.pdf

Mission Systems, Flight Tests with AF-3, AF-6, and AF-7 Test Aircraft and Software Development Progress
* The program successfully added F-35A production lot 1 aircraft AF-6 and AF-7 as mission systems test assets at the Edwards flight test center, California, in June and May 2011, respectively. Because the program plans for these aircraft to eventually be operational test aircraft, they contain instrumentation that makes them useful as mission systems test aircraft. This brings the total number of dedicated mission systems test aircraft at present to three; this number may be augmented by aircraft BF-4 and BF-5 at the Patuxent River test center, as they have a primary role as F-35B flight sciences assets. For example, aircraft BF-4 accomplished eight mission systems flights early in the year before entering modifications for F-35B flight sciences ship trials. The program plans to provide three more operational test aircraft from production lots 3 and 4 to the mission systems test fleet - F-35B aircraft BF-17 and BF-18 (in late 2012) and F-35C aircraft CF-8 (in early 2013).

* The test team attempted mission systems test points needed for acceptance and delivery of the lot 2 and lot 3 aircraft to the training center. The test team also accomplished other flight test activity requiring the use of mission systems aircraft, such as signature tests and “maturity” flights designed to determine the readiness of the F-35A air vehicle for the start of pilot training.

* As of the end of November 2011, mission systems test aircraft exceeded the planned flight rate of 5.2 flights per aircraft per month by 42 percent. The team exceeded the combined Block 0.5 and Block 1 test point goal of 236 by 27 percent. The program identified additional mission systems flight test requirements and accomplished 67 of these points added by flight test requests. The team had not completed any of the 60 Block 2 flight test points, which the program intended to begin in November 2011.
* Block 0.5, Block 1A, and Block 1B Initial Training Capability for Lot 2 and Lot 3 Aircraft

-- Block 0.5. Most of the Block 0.5 test points (78 percent) remained to be accomplished after the end of 2010.
In 2011, the test team planned to accomplish 130 of the 301 remaining Block 0.5 test points concurrently with Block 1 testing. Block 1 capability has two parts:Block 1A for lot 2 aircraft and Block 1B for lot 3 aircraft (retrofit to lot 2).

-- Block 1A. The program and the Air Force determined that the initial Block 1A capability and the F-35A air vehicle required additional testing and deficiency resolution in order to be suitable for unmonitored flight at the training center. Early in 2011, plans for the airworthiness certification process initially anticipated that 200 to 400 hours would need to be accumulated in order to have sufficient flight hours to facilitate a maturity decision. The Edwards test team added a “maturity” flight test plan and used the instrumented lot 1 mission systems test aircraft, AF-6 and AF-7, which were delivered in May (five months later than previously planned), to accomplish these flights. The results of these flights, along with other flight test data, are inputs to the Air Force’s airworthiness decision and official military flight release for the lot 2 aircraft at the training center. Through mid-October 2011, the test team accomplished 34 F-35A maturity flights flown in the initial training syllabus mission profile, accumulating 58.6 hours on AF-6 and AF-7 combined. Between early July and early November, an additional 10 sorties and 19.9 hours were flown in AF-6 and AF-7 with the initial Block 1A software configuration in flights accomplishing other mission systems flight test objectives. By the end of November 2011, the program accumulated a total of 44 sorties and 78.5 hours on the Block 1A software in the F-35A air vehicle for consideration in the Air Force airworthiness decision.

-- Block 1B. Software integration tasks for Block 1B mission capability were 90 percent complete by the end of September 2011 when it began flight test, three months late based on the new plan. This increment includes new functionality for sensor fusion, electronic warfare, and onboard imagery, as well as system security provisions. As of the end of November 2011, less than half of the Block 1B capabilities (12 of 35) had met full lot 3 production contract verification requirements for aircraft delivery. Five of the remaining capabilities were under consideration to be deleted from the requirements since they were associated with weapons capabilities not available until lot 5 in the new IMS. The remaining 18 capabilities have some degree of variance from the expected performance.

-- Tests of two systems integral to Block 1 (and later) capability, the Identification Friend-or-Foe Interrogator (IFFI) and the laser in the Electro-Optical Targeting System experienced delays in 2011. This was due to delays in obtaining clearances from the government agencies that oversee their use. While limited testing of the IFFI system has been conducted off-shore in non-restricted airspace, clearance for testing in national airspace (planned for May) had not been received as of this report. Clearance for testing the laser did not occur until November, while testing was planned to start in June 2011. These delays affected the ability of the test team to accomplish the 192 Block 1 test points assigned for laser and IFFI testing during the year.

* Block 2 and Block 3 Software Development Progress

-- The program intends to provide Block 2 capability for production lot 4 and lot 5 aircraft; lot 4 aircraft should begin to deliver in mid-2012. In the new plan, the program intends Block 2 to contain the first mission systems combat capability - including weapons employment, electronic attack, and interoperability.

-- Concurrent with Block 1 development and integration,the program began integration of initial Block 2A software using the Cooperative Avionics Test Bed (CATB) in early October 2011. The development team augmented the mission systems integration lab, which was busy supporting Block 1 tasks, with the CATB as an integration resource. The new plan calls for the beginning of Block 2A flight test on F-35 mission systems aircraft before the end of November 2011.
However, initial Block 2 integration task execution has fallen behind the new plan, having completed approximately half of the planned schedule, and leaving approximately 70 percent of integration tasks to go.

-- Block 3 development is slightly behind the new plan with only 30 percent of initial Block 3 having completed the development phase. In the new plan, the program simplified Block 3 to two production releases instead of three in prior planning and schedules. The program plans the first release, Block 3i, to contain no substantive increase in functions or capability. It will re-host the final Block 2 capability on the upgraded “Technical Refresh 2” processor hardware set. The program intends Block 3i capability for production lot 6 and lot 7 aircraft.
Block 3f, the final increment, includes new capability.
The program intends to deliver Block 3f for IOT&E and the final lots of low-rate production.

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