PENTAGON: During the 10 days of testing aboard the USS Wasp, the Marines will fly the F-35B carrying air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons to mimic combat conditions. But they won’t be blowing anything up because they will carry inert warheads. The Marines also will be exploring how they can expand the “vertical envelope” around the ship for STOVL operations, says Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle, deputy commandant for aviation.

The testing, known as DT-2 (Development Testing 2), is a crucial step toward Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the Marines, whose Joint Strike Fighter variant has the earliest IOC date of the three services — 2015.

That means the planes will take off and land in about double the area as the initial flight testing on the Wasp explored.

This is of a piece with new concepts of operation the Marines are exploring to use the F-35Bs for three different types of missions. Probably the standard configuration on board what are effectively Marine aircraft carriers but are called amphibious assault ships would comprise a mix of V-22s, CH-53s, AH-1Z Cobras and six F-35Bs. The second mission set, designed to deliver strike aircraft with the greatest range possible would pair 16 F-35Bs with six V-22 Ospreys equipped for drogue refueling, Schmidle says. The Marines have just finished the first V-22 refueling tests.

The third mission set would be more focused on sortie generation, getting as many strike aircraft into the air as often as possible. That would simply include 20 F-35Bs. If the Marines were flying that many aircraft off and around a ship like the Wasp, they would need the broadest operational flexibility, hence the tests to expand the landing and takeoff envelopes.

The Marines are also refining and executing the first night takeoffs and landings from the USS Wasp, as you can see from the video above.

Back of much of this planning is the Marines’ commitment to AirSea Battle’s principal task — operating in anti-access, area denial scenarios. Think China.



  • 2IDSGT

    What?!! No hole melted in the deck? Did the island at least blow overboard?

    • Psuedopod person

      Ha. Imagine that. The anti-F35 crowd was spewing disinformation. What a surprise.

    • kentsan

      Didn’t notice any fried deckhands either. That was assured by the dolts as well.

    • Curtis Conway

      The Thermion appeared to work quite well. Flight Deck Non-skid is on left. Thermion on right.

  • freindly_Armchair_Blogger

    How come i see no ELP in the comment section copy pasting ” No working mission systems”…

  • Jack Everett

    More pig in a poke politics while America continues to be lead off the cliff to third world status.

  • Mithat

    I heard it through the grapewine that F-35 is no better than Su-35/T-50 from Russia or J-20 from China. Hope it’s not true… Meantime you can know Su-35 better : Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker Pictures

    • GaryLockhart

      Does the NSA know you’re connected to the “grapewine”(sic) in China and Russia? I think AA has a solution for that malady.

    • Zwiseguy15

      It probably isn’t true, but you shouldn’t be directly comparing the F-35 to those planes. The F-35 isn’t primarily an air superiority aircraft, it’s a multirole aircraft, so it can do things like ground attack, reconnaissance, and a bunch of other things that the F-22 can’t do as well. We can’t launch the F-22 off of aircraft carriers, for example. The F-22 is what you should be comparing those Russian and Chinese planes to, and the general consensus appears to be that the F-22 is superior to the rest.

    • Curtis Conway

      The Russian Su-35/T-50 is not capable of operating from a platform at sea.

  • M&S

    Back in 2005-06, Aviation Week had an article which included data which supported the notion that the F-35B remained time as thrust (shaft clutch temperature) limited in the hot and wet condition of most naval STOVL operations to the extent that real operating weights all worked around a 12,000lb operational fuel and 3-4 minutes in the STOVL mode.

    Not 14,000lbs and 5 minutes which I believe is the listed spec.

    If this remains true, by itself, it implies that the F-35B is much heavier or/and the F135 has much less bipost thrust and so has to remove fuel or recoverable ordnance from the front end of the payload:radius equation and may be tightly thrust as time constrained even if it returns to the boat with most of it’s ordnance expended, due to the minimum fuel margin, around the boat.

    If you have 1,500lbs remaining fuel which would be enough for a full missed trap evolution and flyup to the overhead tanker with a CVTOL jet, and you cannot immediately board in the 35B configured for VL, the much higher SFCs of transitioning the engine to a stabilized full-IRT (+ a 10% fan overspeed limiter) to get full VL thrust component could see you run out of options on your first approach.

    This issue likely becomes even more critical if the mission type dictates external pylons and racks which add as much as 500lbs per hardpoint station with equivalent concomitant drag as well.

    Which is where the desperate desire on the part of the USMC to have a startup independent airpower of it’s own as ‘Light Carriers’ runs afoul of itself. Because you are talking about a jet which, even with the full decklength to take off in, doesn’t have the legs to be operating in an anti-access arena and indeed may be _significantly_ shorter ranging than all it’s distant CVTOL/CTOL cousins.

    We’re talking closer to an F/A-18A/C with a 250nm radius point. And we all saw how well that worked, off the Falklands.

    Which brings us to the V-22. For Specwar extended penetrations and self deployment only (i.e. there is likely a major envelope penalty here which actually inhibits best tanker gas-pass as a function of operating altitude and safe airspeed) the V-22 can carry three, internal, 800 gallon/5,449 lb, tanks.


    Given the pump, hose reel and drogue assembly are described as RoRo (i.e. palletized, not podded as on the F/A-18 and KC-130), you are almost certainly going to lose at least one of these three rigid bladders which means that you have all of 11,702lbs integral and another 10,898lbs in the auxiliary tanks. Given the V-22 is a boxy fusealged drag queen and has no pressurization which means it flies through thick, low altitude air with a resulting 1,910nm ferry range and 325nm combat radius, despite nominally much more efficient turboprop engines compared to a jet.


    It is probably unwise to leave it with less than 5,000lbs of Bingo fuel to come home on which means, with a fuel burn of 3,000lbs getting to 150nm with all that rolling-STO weight, you are talking about a total of maybe 15,000lbs of transferrable fuel.

    This is the equivalent of topping off two F-35Bs but provides absolutely no margin for recovery tanking as loiter outside the combat area.

    Comparitively, the F/A-18E has 14,400lbs of internal fuel and can carry 2 480 gallon tanks plus a 300 gallon buddy pod for a total of 14,400 + 6528 + 2,040 pounds of fuel. Or roughly a transferrable total of 22,968 – 6,500lbs (more drag from external pods and less efficient F414 engines but a higher transit speed) = 16,468lbs.

    The key here being that a Super Hornet can fly from a midpoint radius back to either a USAF tanker or the parent carrier and refuel, only to meet the strike package coming back out of the target area. With four, 480 gallon, tanks it is also a very capable overhead tanker which means that you can put gas in the returning jets at several different points which the V-22s simply cannot cover, due to a lack of speed and altitude capabilities.

    Indeed, a V-22 is a one shot mission option which-


    The USMC will begin testing the system in 2013, with an eye towards extending the strike range of the ARG’s F-35Bs from 450 to 600 miles.



    Note how important that one key word is: ‘Range’. _Not Radius_. Range.

    Range divided in half = radius of 300nm which is inline with my above predictions for a combat radius on the order of 250nm. Those 6 Osprey are essentially buying you just 50-75nm on the far end of the mission radius for just 16 F-35B.

    It could just be a typo by someone who doesn’t understand the usage but even if it is, it’s only going to -match- the strike radius of the existing F-35A/C airframes, not better it. Which is what the Marines need to do if they honestly plan to engage in Pacific Pivot operations against Chinese DF-21s. Because a Wasp looks no different than a Ford to a MARVing KKV hell bent on blowing out it’s keel.

    And beyond the effective SOI issues, is the added price. The Marines are committed to about 360 V-22s already and Bell Boeing are pushing hard to get back into the USN mission sets with Vertrep, ASW and COD Osprey variants (all originally mooted for the Osprey system but dropped like a hot rock when the price tag and safety issues became clear) as well as a new AEW&C as ‘ISR’ capability.


    With the U.S. Marine Corps heading toward being the biggest user of the MV-22B Osprey at 360 aircraft, a requirement has already been identified by the U.S. Navy for 48 V-22s to fulfill multi-mission roles, meaning a leap to another 35 or so Ospreys would just add numbers to a new type coming into service.

    Linhart also said that testing was underway for the Osprey to act as an aerial refueling platform, potentially for F-18 fighters. “The Osprey flying at 250 knots [not its maximum speed] could do the job effectively,” he said. Wind tunnel tests have been conducted over the last year on how the drogue basket would be deployed from the V-22. USMC and the U.S. Air Force currently carry out refueling the Osprey to extend its range, but the V-22 acting as a tanker would be a new mission.

    Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) is another potential mission that could be offered to the Navy, pushing out the acoustic search for submarines beyond the current range of the fleet’s dedicated Sea Hawks. “The aircraft could certainly drop sonar buoys,” said Linhard, although he added that there is no current solution on offer.

    The Navy does have one problem that neither aircraft can currently meet—the delivery of a Joint Strike Fighter engine from shore to ship over distance. Neither aircraft can carry the engine internally in one piece, due to the way it is packaged. The V-22 could take it as an underslung load but it would be impractical to do so over any meaningful distance. “We are working with the program people on a number of ideas,” stated Linhart.



    Several of those variants imply a pressurization ‘upgrade’ which, given the V-22s design, will not be cheap.

    Yet the Marines desperately need such an investment in the Osprey system and not a rewinged C-2 or a followon CN-235 or other navalized light transport (either of which would be vastly superior to the V-22 for the COD mission because they are already pressurized and have much bigger wings, optimized for cruise and not VTOL).

    Because even ‘Light Carriers’ swallow whole _huge_ amounts of logistics which demands a constant supply pipe to VRC Fleet Logistics Squadrons which pick up spares from individual units or depots and fly them out to the boat.

    For the USMC to standup a truly independent naval airpower modality thus means that they have to also have an aircraft which can recover aboard a narrow deck without a pendant.

    And that means the V-22 or nogo.

    This is why the subtle mention of Ospreys not being limited to 250 knots as ‘best speed’ when transfering fuel to _Hornets_ speaks directly to a pressurization kit as the implication that the USMC might pick up the Navy tanker support mission again if they got their own new toys.

    If you can get above the BSC weather layer of 10-15K, you can start to reasonably transfer fuel without long climbouts back to best cruise heights even as you recover absolute range for long transfer missions from shorebased MCAS/NAS facilities ‘just like a Greyhound’.

    You also get better lines of sight for sensors and comms if you are truly committed to the ISR platform as well.

    The problem being of course that _none of this is paid for_.

    And so must be added to the top of the already enormous stack of unpaid JSF bills.

    No tankers, no effective strike.

    No COD, no effective sustainment.

    No BMC3/ISR, no effective coordination of forces over the local horizon in ‘satellite challenged’ environments.

    = No Competitive Marine Air Mission Capability as standup of an independent ‘Light Carrier’ force in the absence of any driving need.

    Which means that their vision is not cheaper and cannot be cheaper than what is already in place (and apparently unaffordable because we’re going to dip down to about 8-10 CVNs if sequestration goes ahead) as the LHD burns _normal fuel oil_ while carrying as little as 1/7th the operational Air Wing sortie generation potential and never more than 1/2 that of it’s full blooded CVN counterpart.

    How does this map out?

    Well, ‘in the real world’, at a _minimum_ you want to have 2 sets of 2 as FORCAP sections up at all times on oblique diagonals to the mean bearing of approach from (presumably a landward) threat axis. These being your ADIZ ‘intent intercept’ force equivalent maintaining an exclusion zone around the battlegroup by herding rather than by AEGIS lockon.

    If you are wise, one of these will be close to the Hawkeye, or a third section will be in tasked as HAVCAP handholders. A conditional option which becomes an imperative written in stone if you are operating inshore or in the overland power projection missions where you are _inside Indian Country_, even feet wet.

    If you are in full go to war mode, inshore or facing a strategic bomber threat which can launch missiles from a surround sound envelopment, you will have _four_ FORCAPs up at all times, covering the cardinal points plus a separate HAVCAP element for each of the -two- AEW&C (which blink and shift station to make their position relative to the Carrier appear to be as random displaced as possible).

    And another two sections of Ready 5 and Ready 15 DLI support standing by in case everything goes fluid.

    Folks, that’s a minimum 8 jets in air and 4 more on deck or a full squadron tasking on the flight schedule.

    Given they are only going to be able to hold about 2-3hrs, tops, with only 16 jets in your airwing, where’s your rotation?


    Okay, let’s look at the STOM op. Now you have Recon Attack Platoons or RAP teams going in to scout the area, develop CIA contacts, support/recover SOCOM assets, perform CSAR and generally be your on-hand, air mobile, QRF.

    If you have four Osprey aircraft in you your MAGTF specops capable deployment RAP team, _Each One_ will need an F-35B as direct sheepdog escort. Plus you’ll need another section to sprint ahead and look over the target terminal area and perhaps do a little . preemptive sterilization.

    All this because if the first aircraft goes down in a hot LZ it’s escort and the one for the recovery bird as well as the presweep assets already present are going to be fully engaged putting down maximum firepower to get both the downed aircraft and any pickup force out to an alternate LZ.

    Which leaves only two F-35s to cover three V-22s in case this is the start of a major escalation as flak/SAM trap. Which means that when the second bird goes in and the first team comes off (weapons depleted) they now have responsibility for the pickup.

    Given your deep penetration commando activities mean you are perhaps an hour or two out from any secondary retasking off the boat, you _have to win_ the fight your enemy brung or face the fact that your people will be encircled and attrited or overrun, long before you can get back.

    Even if you are successful, you may face a secondary landing as you come out of the TTA in overload condition and have to redivide the recovered and rescue force up to achieve good fuel burn back to base.

    All of this gets much easier if you have a heavy lift detachment of CH-53 with internal vehicles to go into the objective mounted, pick up or deliver the assets and drive back out to a safer pickup point, but the problem then becomes one of speed as the F-35Bs will not be able to remain attached for the whole mission duration and in any case you now have to have a minimum of SIX jets to cover everyone on a SINGLE sneak’n’peek mission axis.

    Because of the extended radii involved, you cannot afford to lose a single Osprey and because the V-22 are huge relative to their operational capacity, every special mission insert capability you have in place pulls a tanker or ISR variant off the Wasp class flight deck.

    Or two fighters.

    Finally, you have the beachhead support as SPOD capture primary mission set. Here, the problem becomes one of sortie generation as a function of shared deck loads other with RW mission elements in an OTH condition from the amphib beachhead and frankly, it is not sustainable with only 6-8 aircraft detachment, even using external hardpoints and systems like SDB and APWKS to maximize shot counts.

    Indeed, even with these lightweight CAS munitions, a /further/ problem raises it’s ugly head and that is the ability to hold adequate munitions for rapid buildup and transfer to a protected area of the flight deck for fast combat turns. Thru deck platforms simply cannot do any of this when the fast jet is sitting on a critical VL recovery spot and the beanie wingers are cycling back and forth to the beach on their own missions without any of their spots ever completely vacated to do a rolling STO with.

    Now do all three of the above missions at once.

    Such is why a modern carrier, ‘light’ or no, really needs to be dual tramway and it needs to be fully dedicated to air-only mission capabilities so that you get maximum volume for hangarage as fuel bunkers and munitions magazines, below-decks..

    In ‘The Carrier Myth’-


    One-Quarter Share

    Still, land-based forces surpassed naval contributions in delivery of PGMs. US forces expended 618 PGMs, scoring 374 hits. Of this number USAF aircraft accounted for 249 hits (66.6 percent of the total), the Navy 98 (26.2 percent), and land-based Marine Corps aircraft 27 (7.2 percent). Thus, strikes launched from sea tallied about a quarter of the hits with PGMs.

    The Navy opened the exercise, called SURGEX, on July 20, 1997. Over 98 hours, carrier Nimitz and its air wing, CVW-9, generated 975 fixed-wing sorties. Of this total, 771 were strike sorties, which led to delivery of 1,336 “bombs”-mostly practice BDU-45s-on targets within 200 nautical miles of Nimitz. F/A-18 strike fighters flew 79 percent of the strike sorties, posting what on the surface seemed to be a phenomenal sortie rate of 4.2 sorties per aircraft per day.

    As the Navy told it, this was not just an exercise but also a valid indicator of real-world capabilities. Nathman, commander of the Nimitz battle group, claimed as much to a reporter on Oct. 15, 1997, during a Persian Gulf rotation. “If we had to do that again, we could,” said Nathman. “We certainly have an excess capacity if [CENTCOM] wanted us to” increase the number of strike sorties.

    The SURGEX results, however, depended on several unusual factors, as noted in a study conducted by Dr. Angelyn L. Jewell and Maureen Wigge, experts with the Center for Naval Analyses. When operations began, the aircrews were ready, the aircraft were groomed, and the ordnance was staged, they pointed out. For the pilots, the routine of fly, fly, fly was made possible by the addition of 25 extra pilots to the air wing’s normal complement. This augmentation of the aircrews was essential to generation of almost 200 strike sorties per day. Augmentees also formed a strike planning cell, whose work helped reduce the amount of time each aircrew had to spend in mission preparation.

    Nimitz also took on a full load of ordnance and replenished its aviation fuel stores while under way. Not all the strike sorties required refueling, but when they did, USAF KC-135s and USMC KC-130s provided land-based tanking support. S-3s did duty as recovery tankers–topping off jets as they returned to the carrier for landing.

    Out of Gas

    The exceptional steps weren’t lost on the CNA analysts. Even with special preparations and maximum effort, “a carrier and her air wing can maintain high-tempo operations for just so long,” reported Jewell and Wigge. The analysts concluded that Nimitz’s ordnance magazines and aviation fuel would have been depleted after one more day of operations.

    The Nimitz SURGEX demonstrated the result of a maximum effort from a single carrier under optimum conditions. Placed in context, however, SURGEX results indicate a capability that would fit only a narrow band of potential real-world joint operations. If surging an air wing is America’s only strike response in a future crisis, then it means that a theater commander’s options are severely limited.





    It was basically shown that full-time flight ops from optimized, big deck, carriers could not sustain a competitive sortie generation rate, comparable to landbased CAS unless they were less than 200nm from the objective and -then- only if they were flown to max capacity with augmented manning ratios and maintenance crews.

    For three days.

    That’s 40 jets running a full flying day, with landbased tanking support, depleting the total magazine capacity of a dedicated fastjet carrier’s munitions lockers and having to go offstation to rest and regenerate at the Fleet Trains.

    Compare this to an Assault Carrier where fully half the ship is either garage or well deck associated with the vehicles and the light craft needed to deliver them. The Marines have ‘detachments’ of fasta$$ CAS because they literally _cannot generate nor sustain_ anything more!

    They get one surge across the surf zone and then it’s down to the landing force organic support and NGS.

    With all these numbers issues, imagine what kind of nightmare scenario you are looking at in an A2AD environment where Taiwan or ROK needs that amphib ready brigade across the beach _yesterday_ to save their very nation and you can’t even get /close/ because the threat has ASBMs, ASCM, Mines and Submarines closing off the approaches, starting some 1,500nm from the surf zone.

    Some of which may be nuclear tipped.

    Meanwhile the Marine presence in the order of battle is not one that is optimized to either air support or close in marine delivery capabilities because they are trying to do a little bit of each mission as a ‘configured’ force and as such do _nothing_ well.

    This is why the Marines should stop trying to set up an all-air franchise of their own and be damn grateful that standard doctrine is always a one up, one back offset support system of two big deck carriers pushing forward into any contested region without a bunch of useless infantrymen as premorted casualties onboard in a heavy SUW counterforce threat environment.

    Indeed, this is why, when we needed to go _deep_ in an OOTW condition we converted a REAL carrier into an offshore FOB rather than bring Gator Freighters into the mix. Because a C-130 can make the distance sufficient to insert and recover a Forced Entry team while preserving the Big Decks ouside the threat bubble and using them solely as hopping stones to get into the denied theater.

    For every other mission set, 80 beats 12, every day of the weak and thrice on Sunday. And real carriers have the necessary volume optimization to run real, air delivered, effects based missions which the Marine configured light deck cannot come close to matching.

    The USMC is stealing money for their private multimission taskforce approach to OOTW/LIC midget warfare in a time of fiscal crisis as we try to swing back towards a high intensity threat region which threatens to outrange our primary naval strike assets altogether (and potentially deny overhead targeting of sublaunched cruise secondaries as well).

    Either the regional threat perception or the Marine ‘Light Carrier’ as mission force construct to deal with it is being well and truly misconstrued.

    • GaryLockhart

      “The USMC is stealing money for their private multimission taskforce approach to OOTW/LIC midget warfare in a time of fiscal crisis”

      The Marine Corps provides 25% of the republic’s defense on ~6% of the DoD budget. The rest of the government, particularly her sister services, could learn a lot about frugality from the Corps’ example.


      Is that an ambiguous reference to the AV-8B?

      Regarding the rest of your cut and paste nonsense, get a clue. Sign on the dotted line and come learn how the ACE of an embarked MEU actually operates.

      • M&S


        The Marine Corps provides 25% of the republic’s defense on ~6% of the DoD budget. The rest of the government, particularly her sister services, could learn a lot about frugality from the Corps’ example.

        This would imply that the Marines are equal to the size and warfighter capabiltiies of the USAr on land, the USN at sea and the USAF in the air.

        Which is exactly what I am arguing is _not true_ and indeed, to anyone with a lick of sense /cannot be/.

        The Marines are an expeditionary light infantry force designed for missions which historically, before WWII, involved corporate as much as national interests in banana republics. During WWII, this changed somewhat because only an embarked force could reach and deploy into the combat zones and so that force had to be small and naval capable while the heavy mechanized forces handled landbased fighting in Europe. This heavy infantry mission remained in effect, after the war, due to simple mass-inertia as force retention and a mistaken perception of the correct methods to contain the Soviets in a nuclear environment.

        Presently, the mission has changed back to stabilization, humanitarian and expeditionary format but even in the wake of the Soviet Collapse and the coming American equivalent, the Marines have retainined a frighteningly expensive force structure which is anything /but/ ‘frugal’.

        The most likely reason for this is the realization that the only way to have any budget is to have a ‘high tech’ one as that is what gains you industry support for The Marine Mission on The Hill and outside of the Department Of The Navy.

        Unfortunately, the higher tech we go, the less we need large forces and the more we need to be able to respond in time to -prevent- war rather than fight them.

        The Marines are not the speedy force they need to be achieve this no-more-billion$ preemptive shutdown of threat options, simply because the technology is not present to deliver ground force effectors into a theater quickly enough to matter.

        As such, there are at least twice as many Marines as their should be for their principle not-the-Army First Responder role.

        And the Marines know this.

        Which is why they are trying to reimagine themselves as an airpower force that can fill in the blanks as gapped carrier coverage.

        The problem with this fallacy is two fold:

        1. Being less than a carrier doesn’t make them less expensive because the same task group escort condion attaches and the USN has no equivalent CVA conventional decks. Just on fuel alone the Marine LHD-as-CVL is off. Now throw in the all the missing elements of VTOL CSA and you have Real Problems, budgetarily, offering a competitive non-squid Airpower modality.

        2. The Marines are entering a plateau’d mission arena whose predominance has attracted powerful technology destabilizers as both alternative strike (quicker, more expensive to purchase, less expensive to own = hybrid optimized, for both sides) and counterforce missions. Yes, I am talking about rushing to your own funeral in the face of ASCM and ASBM for which both the F-35A and C are 2nd best loser unable to outrange. And thus leave the half-as-far F-35B firmly in the dorkfish category of third place also rans.

        If the Marines need a couple amphibious ready brigades for PacWest and SWA/PG regions and a couple more as landbased flyin-mateup equivalents for Central Africa or Asia as the most likely crisis zones of the new century, that’s fine.

        But we are talking less than 10,000 troops overall and a fixed wing complement of perhaps 60-80 jets as the equivalent of the Aeronavale and Royal Navy combined.

        The Marines instead are on a shopping trip like this was Paris and their name was Hilton and they are _not going to get wishlist filled_.

        Which amounts to hundreds of airframes as this nation’s utterly unnecessary THIRD Air Force (can’t maintain the first two…).

        If they don’t realize this and start to come down off their Elite High towards something sustainable by a very poor nation, the USMC will have their wings clipped for them.
        28 TacAir Squadrons

        195,000 Active Marines

        IS NOT FRUGAL!

        Furthermore, if the Marines don’t get their prom queen to starlet dream, the collapse of the scalar economics around the JSF program means that LM will not make their backend profit curve (Just as Admiral Steidle warned of, back in 2006) and they will walk away from the program, just like GD and MDC did on the A-12.

        LM will have no choice as they respond to their stockholders driving need for liquidity as capital investment return /sometime/ in the future.

        With the currency crisis about to hit, It is up to Americans to realize that this is going to happen _regardless_ and make the correct fiscal decisions before any more good money is thrown after the bad.

    • george

      Thanks for these informed insights and your time.

    • Curtis Conway

      The single greatest Risk associated with the F-35 program is the single engine manufacturer. The F136 engine was on track to provide several thousand pounds of additional thrust with a large core design that was able to grow to higher thrust levels, operate at a lower cost with fewer parts and less maintenance, and provide competition to the engine segment to the program, an idea that has saved money every time it has been used in this aviation engine industry. As it is this United Technologies Company has a sole source $100 Billion contract for all F-35s domestic or foreign. This was after making promises that all partners would have a piece of the development and manufacturing pie. The United Kingdom was short changed. Rolls Royce was to build 40% of the F136 engine.

  • GaryLockhart

    “The testing, known as DT-2″(sic)
    DT-II, Colin.

  • Eric Pamler

    Freindly_Armchair_general : @M&S, Does your knowledge extend beyond PDF’s, aviationweek articles and media reports? Have you actually done any sort of aerospace work, or do you just sit at home with a bag of chips and surf the internet.

  • Don Bacon

    Carrier ops? Carriers are obsolete.

    Mike Hixenbaugh, reporting for the Virginia Pilot: “The rise of supersonic anti-ship missiles, smart mines and supercavitating torpedoes suggests that America should be investing in a smaller, stealthier Navy and relying more on unmanned systems to provide air power.”

    Center for a New American Security determined that the value of carriers has been put at risk by their high cost, vulnerability to attack and a growing belief that the ships are “surprisingly irrelevant to the conflicts of the time.”

    US Naval Institute Proceedings: Twilight of the $UPERfluous Carrier–
    “Given very clear technology trends toward precision long-range strike and increasingly sophisticated anti-access and area-denial capabilities, high-signature, limited-range combatants like the current aircraft carrier will not meet the requirements of tomorrow’s Fleet. In short, the march of technology is bringing the supercarrier era to an end, just as the new long-range strike capabilities of carrier aviation brought on the demise of the battleship era in the 1940s.” (end USNI)

    After Billy Mitchell sank a battleship from the air in 1921, the die was cast and that warship class eventually went the way of the dodo. Aircraft carriers could bring aircraft to within range of battleships and sink them. Since carrier aircraft could attack battleships, and sink them out to 200 nm they eliminated a battleship’s ten-fold firepower advantage, which only reached 20 nm.

    Nothing ever stays the same. Now there are guided and ballistic missiles that can be brought to within range of aircraft carriers and sink them. Think China.. China’s DF-21D ballistic missile with independently-targeted warheads has a range of 1500 nm, and many navies feature missiles distributed widely in a flotilla of small combatants.

    Some day aircraft carriers will be springing leaks in various exhibit areas, like battleships.