Flying Turkey Redux

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This topic contains 40 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Ed P 3 weeks, 5 days ago.

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  • #2206

    Ed P
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    @edps

    It just keeps getting worse – it isn’t surprising that the UK is going to take all their Turkeys and hide them on the great white elephant where only podgy females and males will be allowed to fly it!  It also isn’t surprising that Trump wants a friendly relationship with the Russians if this is an indicator of US defense technology!

    link

    Some headlines:

    The operational suitability of all variants continues to be less than desired by the Services.

    Three independent assessments conducted during the past 6 months rate the F-35 as red or unacceptable

    In an effort to stay on schedule, JPO plans to reduce or truncate planned developmental testing (DT) in an effort to minimize delays and close out SDD as soon as  possible. However, even with this risky, schedule-driven approach, multiple problems and delays make it clear that
    the program will not be able to start IOT&E with full combat  capability until late CY18 or early CY19, at the soonest.

    The Services have designated 276 deficiencies in combat performance as “critical to correct” in Block 3F, but less than half of the critical deficiencies were addressed with attempted corrections in 3FR6.

    Deficiencies continue to be discovered at a rate of about  20 per month, and many more will undoubtedly be discovered during IOT&E.

    Flight sciences testing continues to be a source of significant  discovery,

    Fatigue and migration of the attachment bushing in the  joint between the vertical tail and the aircraft structure are  occurring much earlier than planned

    Overheating of the horizontal tail continued to cause  damage, as was experienced on BF-3, one of the  F-35B flight sciences test aircraft, while accelerating in  afterburner to Mach 1.5 for a loads test point.

    Post-flight inspections revealed de-bonding due to heat damage on the trailing edge of the horizontal tail surface and on the horizontal tail rear spar. (i.e. the Turkey is in danger of shedding its tail feathers!)

    Early testing of the air-to-ground andair-to-air symbology have led to discovery of deficiencies in the gunsight and strafing symbology displayed in the pilot’s  helmet.

    Besides the ongoing delays with software and gun  modifications, both DT and OT pilots have reported  concerns from preliminary test flights that the air-to-ground gun strafing symbology, displayed in the helmet, is currently operationally unusable and potentially unsafe

    These modifications to the pilot escape system were  needed after testing in CY15 showed that the risk of serious injury or death is greater for lighter-weight pilots.  Because of the risk, the Services decided to restrict pilots weighing less than 136 pounds from flying the F-35.

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Ed P.
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  • #2241

    Bob Williams
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    @bullstuff2
    Forumite Points: 1,849

    Looks like what we used to call in the Army Air Corps “Testing Under Service Conditions”. That means that Aircrew are nothing more than crash test dummies. There was another one: “Testing Under Active Service Conditions.” The first had a different title applied by Aircrew and groundcrew: ‘Tested Until Someone Crashes’. The second is something I would not repeat even here. :negative:

    The second category applied to the Westland Scout Helicopter. Its first (Nimbus) engine was a disaster and many were lost in the Borneo Confrontation, and the Aden struggle, both of which I remember well. Wiki says that the airframe was ‘robust’ which is something that aircrew and groundcrew who flew and maintained the Scout, will dispute. Even a reasonably soft landing on tarmac, could bend the undercarriage cross tubes, the (unofficial) solution being to remove them, rotate through 180° and refit. I cannot remember the service interval, but the u/c had to be removed and crack-tested at very short intervals during its life. Invariably, there were cracks.    The WIKI story:   https://tinyurl.com/gswxtew

    As an aside: whilst serving in BAOR, every year of my total of 8 years there, I was part of a team from my unit which went to a spot near the Czech border to ski, under Norwegian Army instruction. One year we decided to build a huge toboggan from various bits around Workshop, Stores and “Other Sources”. We used a scrap u/c from a Scout. Twenty+ mad Brit squaddies hurtling down a Bavarian mountain slope in a large toboggan is great for the first few times. Until the path neccessarily deviates, due to the original runs removing snow and ice. We hit a large, buried rock with obvious consequences. Those who were not injured (including myself, fortunately) were laughing like maniacs. The Norwegian Army instructors refused to instruct us further and said that all Brits are insane. I suppose they had a point… :wacko:  B-)

    “If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.”
    ― Philip K. Dick, legendary SF writer.

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    #5834

    Ed P
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    @edps
    Forumite Points: 1,787

    The final word on the US version of the Flying Turkey was appropriately published on April 1st! link

    El Reg has a synopsis that in effect states that the F35 can barely fly, and is certainly not much use as a fighter.

    Maybe the US should now compensate the UK by funding a new type of Harrier perhaps a Goshawk!

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    #5840

    Richard
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    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 1,331

    Ed, having read a little more, I feel you may have been too kind.

    Its best potential is as a ground target decoy, it could look the part while doing nothing too serious to anyone. A shame it is more expensive than canvas, wood and paint

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    #5841

    Drezha
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    @drezha
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    Other news articles suggest that it outstrips the current capability and at recent war games posed a considerable challenge to existing aircraft.

    I’m taking both sides with a pinch of salt.

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    #5852

    Ed P
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    @edps
    Forumite Points: 1,787

    I somehow think an official report from Dr Michael Gilmore,  the Director of Test and Evaluation for the US military holds more weight than fluff put out by the MoD to cya on their carp decisions.

    I do not think there are two sides to this situation other than perhaps some of the US problems (such as their neck-snapping Bone-Dome) are specific to US mods and kit. Maybe also our ejector seats do not potentially kill pilots who weigh less than 40 kilos.

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    #5853

    The Duke
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    @sgb101
    Forumite Points: 1,599

    There is far more bad news reports than good, so you can only believe the bad reports.

    The whole thing is a joke. These jets, our new ships, the whole state of the armed forces is a mess. The troops currently employed are at an all time low, few believe I’m what they are fighting for (or was).

    And it looks like we are going to need a bigger, stronger armed forces in the future. If the EU is to fail, some bad news today, the bickering between states will soon follow.

    Good morning lol.

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    #5869

    Ed P
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    @edps
    Forumite Points: 1,787

    “…need a bigger, stronger armed forces in the future”

    Maybe — I would be far happier with a military fine tuned to support purely UK objectives and ignore the impositions of the US.

    Dump Cold War, Armageddon weapons like Trident, but keep nuclear tipped cruise missiles as insurance against madmen and evil Mullahs. Dump Flying Turkeys and invest in a cheaper more effective cloud of drone fighters. More close support weapons (especially drones), and better equipment/protection/robotics for the PBI. Put the Navy in small boats, cheap drone transporters (container ships will do) and logistics support for the PBI. The days of hypervelocity cruise missiles has resulted in all capital ships becoming a waste of money and lives.

    I would add new investment in countering computer and infrastructure vulnerabilities. This may take a wodge of cash as I am very distrustful of electronics built around foreign chips where we do not have a clue what micro-code has been hidden away awaiting a triggering instruction. Invest in new economic weapons*.  Bridge the funding gaps from Trident savings and scrapping the Lightning II.(F35).

    *Might for example be a new form of Stuxnet or even simple ways of bringing down electrical grids on a country wide basis – EMP weapons minus the nuclear blast?

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    #5891

    The Duke
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    @sgb101
    Forumite Points: 1,599

    Being an ex Marine I’m all for finely tuned outfits.  but I can see trouble ahead, if the EU is to collapse. ?

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    #8910

    Ed P
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    @edps
    Forumite Points: 1,787

    It cannot stay out of the news for long. Grounded again as it suffocates its pilots! They may even have been Brits that were suffocated as the report refers to Lightning IIs

    link

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Ed P.
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    #8919

    The Duke
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    @sgb101
    Forumite Points: 1,599

    I don’t think the point we should focus on,  is where the pilots are from. ☺️

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    #8927

    Ed P
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    @edps
    Forumite Points: 1,787

    I don’t think the point we should focus on, is where the pilots are from. ☺️

    No you are quite correct, in fact the pilots could well be Yanks. Of more importance is that the planes apparently belong to the UK and are fatally flawed.

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    #13147

    Ed P
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    @edps
    Forumite Points: 1,787

    The tale goes from bad to terrible. Probably a quarter to a third of Lightnings will be grounded due to a lack of spares and the costs continue to rise. El Reg Link.

    Wash my mouth out but we should have bought the French Rafale rival – its cheaper and it works! link

    That said, I really think we should not have bought either, but invested in flocks of drones instead.

    • This reply was modified 11 months ago by Ed P.
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    #13150

    The Duke
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    @sgb101
    Forumite Points: 1,599

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Currently reading Battle for the Falklands, but Matt Hastings, and he talks of the gov wanting to disable the RM to bay for ships and planes.

    I know the Falklands save the RM, but never looked into why. Then it was because the powers that be thought elite troops wouldn’t be needed in a nuclear war set up of the cold War. Now it seems its planes and drones.

    Looks like the marines need a war quick. Luckily for them, the world is going to shit, and they will be likely need relatively soon.

    And someone should be shot over the whole carrier and jet debacle. Or at least a good long enquiry. Then a possible shooting.

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    #13151

    Dave Rice
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    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 1,092

    invested in flocks of drones instead.

    Whilst not disagreeing with a word that’s been said, the Carriers were designed over a decade ago when flocks of drones weren’t a thing.

    However, how would a flock of drones provide air cover for the flotilla?

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    #13152

    The Duke
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    @sgb101
    Forumite Points: 1,599

    I don’t think Ed thinks we need ship’s today. On one hand I agree, but I think we should realise our place in the world and stop fighting people with sticks.

    The day when we actually need an armada is the we are screwed anyhow.

    However war makes alot of money, so we won’t be changing anytime soon.

    I like drones in support of ground troops. Have a then a few miles away, high in the sky, on notice. A cheaper, less costly air supports.

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    #13153

    Ed P
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    @edps
    Forumite Points: 1,787

    ‘However, how would a flock of drones provide air cover for the flotilla?’

    Modern drones can not only carry anti-tank/anti-ship armament there is no reason why they could not instead be armed to carry homing torpedoes to hunt subs/trail sensors to pick up sub thermal emissions or magnetic anomaly detectors etc. With respect to flying any ‘top-cover’ I would have thought substituting an AARAM for a Hellfire would be a relatively trivial change for the arms industry. Equally drones could be fitted with early warning radar detectors. Instead of manned expensive jack of all-trades aircraft cheaper single purpose drones may well supply far more bang for our bucks.

    The US are already flying off and landing drones on aircraft carriers. It would be much less expensive and more efficient for us to use container ships, escorted if you will by drone frigates.

    As usual the MOD reprises the last war with the views of retired/out of touch Admirals , Air & Field Marshalls rather than a range of future scenarios. We need flexible responses not unthinking investment in cannon-fodder. I think in the very near future we will not need either a conventional Navy or an Air Force, however it will be quite a while before we can efficiently replace boots on the ground as there are too many problems in discriminating between civilians and opponents. I would therefore invest heavily in modernising the support for our Army in ‘little’ wars as Duke points out we are toast in any major confrontation with the Russians or Chinese even the NORKS could give us problems. We should reconfigure ourselves to a Swedish-style military as befits our second-string military status.

     

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    #13155

    Wheels-Of-Fire
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    @grahamdearsley
    Forumite Points: 621

    What exactly was wrong with the old Harrier apart from not being super sonic ?

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    #13157

    Ed P
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    @edps
    Forumite Points: 1,787

    What exactly was wrong with the old Harrier apart from not being super sonic ?

    .

    Not a lot. The US Marine Corps were still using AV8Bs (Harrier IIs) in operational service up until 2014. They were then forced to take them out of service to make space for the turkeys. They are however non-stealthy, which may be an issue in a tactical support role as it must make them easier to detect and  decrease survivability.

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    #13161

    StevieP
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    @steviep
    Forumite Points: 25

    What exactly was wrong with the old Harrier apart from not being super sonic ?

    Not designed for use at sea from the outset which is never a good thing for Naval aircraft. The requirements are different, prime example being the F-15 Eagle. There were attempts to design a “Sea Eagle” but the required modifications to enable it to use the long range AIM-54 Phoenix missile and associated radar would have made the resulting aircraft 10,000lbs heavier than the land based version, thus negating any power/weight/speed advantages. Therefore the US Navy stuck with the F-14 Tomcat even though it was a lot more expensive. The Harrier was initially used by the RAF as a close support and reconnaissance fighter aircraft. To fill a hole left by the RAF claim that they could protect the fleet from land bases the Navy required an aircraft to enable it to supposedly intercept and if required shoot down any Russian interlopers, or rather this was how it was sold to the MOD. This was also the reason why the Invincible class of ships were not officially called “Aircraft Carriers” but Through Deck Cruisers.

    So with a few changes, the most important of which was the introduction of the Blue Fox and later Blue Vixen radar the Sea Harrier or FRS1 was born.

    It could not take off vertically with a full payload of fuel and weapons therefore the ships that operated them were fitted with ski ramps to literally throw them into the air.

    Because of the undercarriage configuration they had to land vertically or slowly, outriggers have a tendency to bend and snap. Sometimes on landing they would bounce, once off the flight deck and into the catwalk along side. (Quite scary when a Lt. Cmd. is shouting in your ear to jump on the inboard wing to stop it going over the side).

    They had two types of flight control, one for winged flight and a secondary one for vectored thrust. Over complicated and difficult to fly some say and damage to the nozzles could lead to landing difficulties.

    Limited flight endurance and weapons payload compared to conventional carrier aircraft. As previously stated sub-sonic.

    Were supposed to have a high heat signature, don’t know if this is true, but not what you want with a heat seeking missile up your chuff. Although offset by the fact that you could use vectored thrust if needed.

    However many of the pilots loved flying them and regarded them very highly once they worked out what could and couldn’t be done with them. Cmd. “Sharkey” Ward wrote what I think was a very good book called “A Maverick At War – Sea Harrier Over The Falklands” which explains many things about the Harrier, MOD, Navy, and the Fleet Air Arm.

    Personally I thought they were pretty good especially as they were being used for purposes they weren’t really designed for, particularly as they could taxi backwards if the pilot trusted you enough. Many young Naval Airmen would disagree though as quite a few have rather big scars on their heads after cutting them on the very sharp fins underneath the nose where they had to go to chock the aircraft.

    Ahhh! happy days although there was a big poster which summed up what most of us thought in 1982,  I think in 4F Flat HMS Hermes, just outside the galley with a cartoon of a Phantom, Buccaneer and Gannet with a caption of “Save all your razor blades lads, bring back the Ark Royal”. You can’t blame the lack of AEW on the Harrier though, just more shortsighted government officials, but I won’t get into that.

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    #13162

    Wheels-Of-Fire
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    @grahamdearsley
    Forumite Points: 621

    That about covers it then 😊

    I still think it would have been wise to get the new planes into service before we retired the old ones though.

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