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Subject: F-35 JSF Hit by Serious Design Problems
Volkodav    12/4/2007 4:50:17 AM
03-Dec-2007 20:55 | Permanent Link Related stories: Americas - USA, Scandals & Investigations, Fighters & Attack, Lockheed Martin, Other Corporation, Eng. Control Systems, Issues - Political, Testing & Evaluation F-35A #AA-1 (click to view full)by Johan Boeder in The Netherlands. Earlier versions of this article have been published in the Dutch press and Defense-Aerospace. DID has worked with the author to create an edited, updated version with full documentation of sources. On May 3, 2007, during the 19th test flight of the prototype of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), a serious electrical malfunction occurred in the control of the plane. After an emergency landing the malfunction could be identified as a crucial problem, and it became clear that redesign of critical electronic components was necessary. Producer Lockheed Martin and program officials first announced there was a minor problem, and later on they avoided any further publicity about the problems. The delay has become serious, however, and rising costs for the JSF program seem to be certain. In Holland, Parliament started a discussion again last week. Understanding the background behind these delays, and the pressures on European governments, is important to any realistic assessment of the F-35's European strategy ? and of the procurement plans in many European defense ministries? The Fateful Incident F-35A AA-1 (click to view full)On December 15, 2006 the experienced Lockheed Martin chief test pilot Jon Beesley takes off for the first time with the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter), also known as F-35 Lighting II. The coming years, some 3000 Joint Strike Fighters are scheduled to be delivered to replace F-16 and Harrier fighters in the USA and in the air forces ad navies of several European countries. In most cases, replacement contenders are some combination of the Eurofighter, Rafale, Gripen and JSF. In many cases, the new fighters must also be available by 2014-2018 ultimately, when early-model F-16s bought in Europe will reach their end-of-life stage. Any further delay brings high maintenance costs, and too low operational availability. After a series of 7 quite successful flights, the test flight program stops in February 2007 to fix some minor problems in the JSF flight control software. This is not unusual in the early stages of a test flight program. In March 2007, the JSF returns to flight status and takes off for the first supersonic flight. At the end of April the JSF prototype AA-1 takes off several times a week. But then, destiny strikes. On May 3, 2007 with the second test pilot Jeff Knowles at the stick, a serious malfunction hits the JSF. At 38,000 feet (12 km) level flight and at a speed of some 800 km/hour, the plane executed a planned, 360-degree roll but experienced power loss in the electrical system about halfway through the manoeuvre. In an emergency procedure, power is restored and Jeff Knowles regains control of the plane. The pilot cuts short this 19th test flight and makes an emergency landing in Fort Worth, TX. Due to control problems with right wing flaperons, the JSF has to make that landing at an exceptional high speed of 220 knots (350 km/hr). The plane's undercarriage, brakes and tires are damaged. The plane is stopped, surrounded by emergency vehicles, and towed away, but several eyewitnesses take pictures of the emergency landing. Lockheed Martin technicians identify a component in the 270-power supply as the culprit in the near-accident. The JSF's new technology includes new electro-hydrostatic actuators (EHAs) for the flight control system, replacing more conventional hydraulic systems. In April 2007, chief test pilot Jon Beesley told Code One Magazine that the EHAs were production versions, and that testing could be restricted to the AA-1: "The electro-hydrostatic actuators, or EHAs, are another excellent example of risk reduction we're accomplishing on AA-1. This is the first real electric jet. The flight control actuators, while they have internal closed-loop hydraulic systems, are controlled and driven by electricity?not hydraulics. The F-35 is the only military aircraft flying with such a system. We proved that the approach works on six flights of the AFTI F-16 during the concept demonstration phase of the JSF program. We already have many more flights on EHAs on this test program. Because we are flying production versions of the EHAs on AA-1, we won't have to prove the EHA design on subsequent F-35s." After several weeks of evaluations, the engineers learn that there are serious design problems in this new electrical system. Expensive redesign will be necessary. 'No serious problem'? Grounded. (click to view full)Normally whenever the JSF takes an itty-bitty baby step, the manufacturer reports it to the media for PR purposes. First engine run? Reported. Roll-out? Reported. First flight? Reported. First Wheel-up flight? Reported. But "first emergency landin
 
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gf0012-aust       12/4/2007 5:11:45 AM
 
I'm curious as to why Hamilton-S were used, I would have thought that there were far better options available - and certainly companies that have far greater experience in modern generation technologies..... (eg there are others doing work for USN, NAVSEA, DARPA, SAIC for things like subs and USV's where the issue of risk management and redundancy management is embedded in their brains.
 
Stuff the SHornets, it should have been Eagle-E's. 
 
The article raises more questions than answers - and mainly wrt fault management and module testing at each milestone....
 
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Herald1234       12/4/2007 9:34:43 AM

 

I'm curious as to why Hamilton-S were used, I would have thought that there were far better options available - and certainly companies that have far greater experience in modern generation technologies..... (eg there are others doing work for USN, NAVSEA, DARPA, SAIC for things like subs and USV's where the issue of risk management and redundancy management is embedded in their brains.

 

Stuff the SHornets, it should have been Eagle-E's. 

 

The article raises more questions than answers - and mainly wrt fault management and module testing at each milestone....


1. When the technology was trotted out, the engineers designed it ten years ago.  The Darpa stuff wasn't ready yet.
2. the US is trying to spread its electric flight control technology base out among several more companies.
3. Hamilton Standard unlike say Allison is LEGENDARY as an engineering and problem solving shop in American industry. The DoD may have miscalculated.
4. This problem showed up in testing like it was supposed to do. O regard the article as unnecessarily alarmist and as coming from the same biased pro-Rafale sources that continue to lobby Hilland to drop out of the Sparky program.
5. LockMart continues to screw up on the PR and business management war. I still trust the engineers that KJ trained to get this right.
6. About the softwar and integration issues, you've got to have airframes in the air to test amd integrate, don't you? Cancelling two test aircraft to control cost overruns [Cref 4 and 5 together] that would have done this work was DUMB.

Eagle E[Aus]s would have been a good safe buy. Australia  would have to buy/develop a much better antishipping strike capability for that bird, which the US would be happy to add to its own Eagles after you bought it first. Shades of Dasault and Thales! Don't think that approach would sell the bird to the RAAF do you?     

Considering that the Euroclucks still have their own major weapons integration and testing problems which are serious or more serious than the Sparky as of now, and that the best of them, Typhoon will not be fully operational at Tranche 3/4 until about 2016, I have to regard Sparky as still being the bird to use if you have to choose for dollar per kilogram. On the other hand, you can't go wrong with Eagle or Typhoon. 

Just remember that while LockMart are almost as big a bunch of thieves as Thales, their engineers are NOT incompetents.

Herald    
 
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Softwar    F-35 Return To Flight   12/4/2007 10:32:47 AM
Airborne Ambitions
Aviation Week & Space Technology
12/03/2007, page 18
 
Lockheed Martin aims to return to flight-testing of the F-35 this week, following a layoff due to a technical incident in May. Aircraft AA-1, an F-35A, was penciled in to return to the flight test program on Dec. 4. Flight-testing was halted following an ?electrical anomaly? during Flight 19 on May 3.
 
 
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flamingknives       12/5/2007 1:05:29 PM
I'd just like to point outto Volkodav that when quoting an article verbatim, it's usually good form to reference the original.

> is the original source of the article.

In other news, AA1 didn't make it off the tarmac on the 4th.
 
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Herald1234    Where Sparky sdtands now...   12/5/2007 1:22:56 PM

I'd just like to point outto Volkodav that when quoting an article verbatim, it's usually good form to reference the original.

> is the original source of the article.

In other news, AA1 didn't make it off the tarmac on the 4th.
Sourced originally at:

The latest news on the P&W engine problem.

"http://groups.google.com/group/rec.aviation.military/browse_thread/thread/e11aadedd67de6ea/39ac96a219a91f77"

http://www.star-telegram.com/business/story/282516.html

Second test plane powers up, but first plane stays grounded

Work on the second F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter test
aircraft has reached a key milestone, but the one test aircraft that
last flew nearly six months ago is still grounded.

Lockheed Martin reported Friday that the electrical system of the
second aircraft was turned on for the first time late Thursday, an
important step in the lengthy process that is expected to lead to test
flights by mid-2008.

The F-35 program, now estimated to cost U.S. taxpayers at least $299
billion, is at a sensitive stage. Lockheed and its partner contractors
need to show steady progress to maintain political support and
continued funding.

The second test aircraft being assembled in Lockheed's west Fort Worth
factory is the first F-35B short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL)
plane like those designed for use by the Marine Corps, the British
Royal Navy and Air Force, and the Italian armed forces.

With the electrical system operational, engineers and technicians can
begin conducting the thousands of hours of ground tests required
before the plane can be flown.

The plane is the first to be built to specifications coming out of a
major and costly redesign effort launched in 2004 after officials
overseeing the program realized that the airplane was going to be too
heavy.

Lockheed officials had hoped to resume test flights of the first
aircraft by the end of this month. The plane has been grounded since a
hazardous electrical problem was discovered in early May.

Lockheed's chief financial officer, Bruce Tanner, told Wall Street
analysts earlier this week that flight testing probably would not
resume until next month.

Spokesman John Smith said Friday that "final preparations for flight
testing" were under way and that the aircraft "will fly when it's
ready."

Testing has been further delayed after Pratt & Whitney engineers
discovered engine damage after ground tests in mid-September on an
engine identical to that used in the F-35 test aircraft.

Smith said that a number of successful engine ground tests have been
conducted since.

The electrical-system problem that caused the grounding has long since
been addressed: The problem parts have been redesigned. Other
components have also been replaced, and new software has been
installed and checked out in ground tests.

The spate of technical problems and delays has pushed the F-35 program
over budget. Lockheed has proposed cutting two test aircraft and about
1,500 planned test flights in later years to save money, saying it can
accomplish all the needed tests with fewer planes and fewer flights.

Michael Sullivan, an analyst with the Government Accountability
Office, said the track record of the F-35 program doesn't inspire
confidence.

"We don't see any evidence that is a reasonable rationale that makes
any sense," Sullivan said.
 

I see this as the normal series of glitches. If you compare Sparky to Tomcat, fewer in flight failures at this point, no crashes and no dead pilots, so Sparky is ahead on points.

If you compare this bird's progress to a true horror story like the Osprey; or the Aardvark, the Sparky is a model of testing progress.

And as predicted Pratt and Whitney has screwed up the jet engine-again.  

Figure January 2008 flights resume.

Herald.   

 
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DropBear       12/5/2007 6:11:47 PM
No biggy. I'll get worried when similar issues are happening in 2010-2012-2014.
 
Then we can start worrying about RAAF acquisitions and options.
 
 
 
 
 
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Volkodav       12/6/2007 5:36:05 AM
I'd just like to point outto Volkodav that when quoting an article verbatim, it's usually good form to reference the original.
 
Yes sorry about that, I usually do, I will have to claim brain fade in mitigation for the slip on this one
 
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Claymore       12/6/2007 8:51:57 PM
Interesting...
Quote:
Fox100, Johan Boeder is a "journalist" who has never said anything good about USA aviation or aircraft, he works as the director of systems design and integration for BEVER Automatic a software systems integrator in Holland. He made his "journalism" mark with a factually innaccurate article about a Dutch Lockheed Hercules incident.

The web site is at: http://www.beveraut.nl
 
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Herald1234       12/6/2007 9:07:02 PM

Interesting...

Quote:

Fox100, Johan Boeder is a "journalist" who has never said anything good
about USA aviation or aircraft, he works as the director of systems
design and integration for BEVER Automatic a software systems
integrator in Holland. He made his "journalism" mark with a factually
innaccurate article about a Dutch Lockheed Hercules incident.



The web site is at: link


Thanks for filling that detail in. He is a technological incompetent and a Rafale worshipper.

Herald


 
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DropBear    Now for a bit of Rafale worshipping...   12/6/2007 10:07:06 PM
 
http://www.gibstuff.net/models/Rafale-C/Rafale-21.jpg" width=1024 border=0>
 
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