Defense

March 7, 2014

Program executive officer describes F-35 progress

Progress remains steady in the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter’s operational testing, reprogramming, fueling, and stand-up training, the F-35 program executive officer told an audience at Aviation Week’s Defense Technologies and Requirements Conference March 4.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher C. Bogdan said software development is a key factor as the program progresses.

Software is, by its very nature, difficult to develop, the general said, especially when adding to it the complexities of multiplatform fusion, one of the main modification goals for the aircraft.

Even the smallest change to the software can have a big effect, Bogdan said, so repeated testing is required to ensure any software modification works properly.

Interim capability currently allows the F-35s to survey the battle space, absorb information and give the department a clear picture from an individual perspective, the general said. Meanwhile, he added, the software development aims to ensure not only that two jets can assess and fuse the information, but also that multiple systems can share and process the data — systems such as F-22 Raptor fighters, Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, B-2 bombers, satellites and ground stations.

Bogdan explained that finishing interim capability as quickly as possible with the resources at hand will help the program move to the next development phase. So far, he said, airframe and engine production schedules are stable and predictable, measuring milestones in days and weeks, not months and years.

“It’s more important to know when those lines will come out so we can get them to those bases and start that stand-up,” the general said.

The developmental test program is 50 percent complete for 28 F-35s, Bogdan said. At this time last year, he added, the program office delivered about 36 airplanes, with plans this year to deliver 36 to 38.

“In the next two years, that’ll go up to about 43, and then up into the mid-60s and then three years from now, over a hundred,” the general said. Most of the 58 operational F-35s in the field are in use for training at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Operational units are at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.; Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; and Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Affordability continues to be critical, Bogdan said, as officials devise plans to drive costs down in research, development, technology and engineering without requesting any further funds from Congress or the Defense Department. “The enterprise simply cannot tolerate us asking for more money,” he added.

Cost-cutting ideas include an integrated master schedule to synchronize and manage tasks, assess risks assessments, and determine critical paths, the general said. He cited examples including the Marine Corps’ initial operational capability, scheduled for fight testing completion in October and for developmental testing completion in November 2015.

“The [integrated master schedule] has shown us the critical path to both of those events is not software, … but modifications to the airplanes,” Bogdan said. This requires balancing aircraft availability with the need to take jets off the line for modifications.

Progress in a program as complicated as the F-35 requires discipline in the business model, Bogdan said.

“We simply cannot afford to have to do things twice on this program,” he told the conference audience. “We don’t have the time, and we don’t have the money. We know what our commitments are, and we’re going to do everything we can to deliver them.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines November 24, 2014

News: Hagel said to be stepping down as defense chief under pressure - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure, the first cabinet-level casualty of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and a beleaguered national security team that has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises. Afghan mission for U.S....
 
 

News Briefs November 24, 2014

Fog forces five U.S. choppers to land in Polish field Officials say that that fog forced five U.S. Army helicopters to make an emergency landing in a Polish field and spend the night there, the second such incident since September. The U.S. Army said 15 soldiers were moving equipment to their base in Germany Nov....
 
 
Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.

Navy’s first F-35C squadron surpasses 1,000 flight hours

Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr. An F-35C Lightning II aircraft piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, flies the squadron’s first local sortie. The F-35C is the carrier va...
 

 
boeing-SC-787

Boeing South Carolina begins final assembly of its first 787-9 Dreamliner

Boeing has started final assembly of the 787-9 Dreamliner at its South Carolina facility. The team began joining large fuselage sections of the newest 787 Nov. 22 on schedule, a proud milestone for the South Carolina team and a...
 
 
Lockheed Martin image

Ball Aerospace equips Orion mission with key avionics, antenna hardware

Lockheed Martin image Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. is providing the phased array antennas and flight test cameras to prime contractor Lockheed Martin for Orion’s Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), which is an u...
 
 

Salina, Kansas, recalls anniversary of shuttered base

It has been 50 years this month since the announcement that Schilling Air Force Base was closing rattled Salina residents. The Salina Journal, which carried news of the closure in its Nov. 19, 1964, editions, reported that the economic disaster then spared no part of the community – real estate, retail, civic involvement, church attendance,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>