State-of-the-art stealth fighter 'F-35', which has been decided to deploy in actual battle after development for more than 15 years, history of its hardship



On August 2, 2016, the U.S. Air Force announced that the Air Force-designed stealth fighter ' F-35A ' acquired initial operational capability (IOC) and was ready for deployment in practice. The history of the F35, which had been in full-scale development since it entered the system development demonstration stage in 2001, was a series of difficulties, and there were times when I was scolded that the system was full of bugs and unusable, but here I am. Finally, we have entered the practical stage. Delivery to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force was also started in September 2016, and it is expected that it will be deployed in 2017, but the development process is as steep as any other in the past, and in response to it And the development cost has risen to the blue ceiling.

Air Force Declares F-35A Ready For Combat

How the F-35 Nearly Doubled In Price (And Why You Didn't Know) |

Next-generation fighter F35 to be introduced by the ASDF to be delivered next month | NHK News

◆ What kind of fighter is the F-35
The 'F-35 Lightning II' is a fighter that was developed mainly by Lockheed Martin, a major US military and aerospace industry. This model has various characteristics, but the most important one is that three derivative types are made from one aircraft. The ' F-35A ' that won the IOC this time is the basic type of the F-35 series, and is a type (CTOL) that takes off and land using the runway as usual. This aircraft is basically operated by the US Air Force, and this type is also introduced by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. It is the lightest of the three types, including the two types described below, but it weighs about 35 tons when fully loaded with weapons and fuel. It can be said that it is a very heavy aircraft that can fly with only one jet engine, and it is said that it has a great influence on the movement performance as described later.

Based on the basic F-35A, by adding a mechanism that directs the thrust of the engine directly below, it has the performance as a short-distance takeoff vertical lander (

STOVL aircraft) is the ' F-35B ', Used by the US Marine Corps. While it has the ability to take off and land if there is an extremely short runway, the complicated nozzle mechanism, the lift fan for takeoff and landing added to the front of the aircraft, and the shaft for driving it add weight, The maneuverability, cruising range, and armament capacity have also decreased by about 20%. It should be noted that this time the news was about the acquisition of IOC for F-35A, but in fact, this F-35B acquired IOC in July 2015 .

And the third type is ' F-35C ' which is mainly developed for operation in the US Navy. In order to enhance the performance required for the aircraft to take off and land on the aircraft carrier, the main wing, vertical tail, and horizontal tail are enlarged, the lift device (flaperon) is strengthened, the structure and landing gear are strengthened, the catapult launch bar is installed, and at the time of landing. The arresting hook for hooking the wire has been strengthened, and the folding mechanism of the main wing has been added, and the weight has increased to the same level as the F-35B. Nevertheless, one of the features is that the cruising range is longer than that of the standard F-35A because the fuel capacity is increasing due to the larger wings and simplified equipment.

In this way, the F-35 series, which enables three types of applications, is an integrated batting fighter plan (Joint Strike Fighter Plan) that realizes three types of aircraft based on one aircraft: fighter aircraft, fighter attack aircraft, and ground attack aircraft. Strike Fighter: JSF plan).

◆ Frequent problems and soaring aircraft prices
The F-35 is a fuselage that has been developed to fulfill a wide range of advanced tasks compared to previous military aircraft. In addition, extremely complex systems have been installed to realize advanced electronic warfare capabilities to carry out operations in cooperation with ground and sea units, which has a great impact on development.

・Heavy aircraft
One of the major problems pointed out in the F-35 is said to be 'low mobility as a single unit'. Needless to say, fighter aircraft are required to have high maneuverability, but the increased complexity of the F-35's aircraft specifications will be reflected in the weight as it is, and it will be a heavy class as a single-engine aircraft with only one engine. It can be said that it reaches 35 tons (when equipped with maximum weapons and fuel). This is a very heavy figure compared to about 20 tons of the same single-engine F-16 .

In addition, the F-15 , which weighs up to 40 tons, is a twin-engine aircraft with two engines, so it is installed in order to achieve the same speed and maneuverability with a single-engine F-35. Naturally, the F-135 engine is required to have extremely high thrust performance. However, achieving high thrust with one engine puts high stress on engine parts. Perhaps that's why, during the F-35 development stage, problems with the engine have occurred.

Column: The fatal flaw of the most advanced stealth fighter 'F35' | Reuters

In June 2014, the F-35A, which was preparing for takeoff, had an accident in which the engine ignited on the runway, and as a result of the investigation, it was found that there was a defect in the internal parts of the engine. Had fallen into a situation where he was forced to stop flying. To date, the F-35 has had at least 13 temporary flight suspensions.

F-35 engine fire accident, engine blade micro cracks occurred 3 weeks before the accident-BusinessNewsline

The engine mounted on the F-35A used at this time was a Pratt & Whitney engine, and in subsequent investigations, stress was applied to parts called 'engine blades' inside the engine, resulting in microcracks (small cracks). It is known that a fire occurred when a broken part destroyed the fuel system of the engine. It has also been confirmed that parts inside the engine had fallen on the runway immediately after the fire broke out.

Engine pieces found on runway after F-35 fire-sources | Reuters

In addition, the increased weight also has a considerable negative impact on maneuverability as a fighter. Due to the lack of thrust due to the heavy aircraft and the single-engine, the F-35 has become a virtual enemy of the F-16 fighter, even though some experts have pointed out the triple pain of being inflexible, unable to climb, and unable to move. An interesting result is that in a simulated battle, the F-35 wasn't able to keep track of the F-16, whose basic design was more than 30 years old.

Is F35's air combat capabilities inferior to F16? What is the truth? -Millibro News

However, it is also impossible to argue that the performance of F-35 itself is low due to this result. Classified as a fifth-generation jet fighter, the F-35 is designed to carry out operations in cooperation with rear troops on the ground or at sea, and its battle style is 'to complement your opponent faster and from afar. It is said to be 'shoot down.' Therefore, in the actual battle scene, the opponent's aircraft is shot down before it is brought directly to the confrontation, so there is a view that the total performance is high even if the 1:1 dog fight performance is low. U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh said on the CBS TV show '60 Minutes' about the F-35's combat capabilities, enemy planes that encountered F35 'will be shot down without realizing that they are in combat.' I am.

In fact, in 2016, it was also announced that it showed more than equal performance in a dogfight of a simulated battle against an F-15E fighter called 'invincible'.

Is it a big mistake that F-35A is weak? Complete victory over F-15E, the latest stealth fighter loses its reputation | Car News

・Complicated software with many troubles
The state-of-the-art fighter, the F-35, employs an extremely high level of computer control technology, which can be said to be a 'flying supercomputer' such as an advanced control system and cooperation with the rear unit. As a result, the source code of the program 'Block 3i' that controls the aircraft reached 8 million lines, which caused troubles.

The control program of the fighter aircraft ``F-35'' developed by the US military is full of bugs and it is expected that repair will cost a lot of money and time-GIGAZINE

In particular, 'Block 3i', which was in the development stage, had extremely low stability of operation, and it was necessary to shut down and restart the system once every four hours. If this is your own PC or smartphone, it is a story that you can do with 'What is it, I can not help it', but the F-35 deployed at the battle site, let alone the freeze in the aircraft in battle with the enemy aircraft occurred When this happens, this is no longer a problem of stability boggling down.

Hyundai fighter, nemesis 'freeze'? Shutdown every 4 hours | Car News

The development of the F-35 involved multiple companies from many countries, which made software development difficult. After that, the stability problem of the program has been solved, and in fact, even in the above-mentioned simulated battle with F-15E that requires scramble starting performance, there is no problem of starting due to the program, so it is already a problem in practice. Is believed not to exist.

The helmet worn by the pilot also has extremely advanced functions, and it seems that the development of this helmet has been difficult.

Meet the most fascinating part of the F-35: The $400,000 helmet-The Washington Post

The helmet used on the F-35 aims to reduce the burden on the pilot by displaying various information on the visor part in front of you. This helmet has a function of projecting images taken by cameras built in six places of the F-35 fuselage inside the helmet, so that when the pilot looks straight down, the scene underneath the fuselage is projected. I am. However, the reason why the pilot who actually wore it was experiencing sickness, and the helmet itself was too heavy in the first place, so the design was reviewed several times. The price per helmet has reached $400,000 (about 40 million yen).

It was also reported that Chinese spies had obtained sensitive information during the F-35 development stage. This was made clear by a document from the NSA (National Security Agency) published by former NSA employee Edward Snowden.

China steals confidential information of 'state-of-the-art stealth fighter F35' with 'cyber spy' Australian newspaper report (1/2 page)-Sankei News

It is said that the stealth fighter verifier called J-31 (Yu -31 ) is said to have been designed based on such information. Although this aircraft has the difference of mounting two engines, the shape of the aircraft is very similar to F-35.

・ Soaring development costs and aircraft prices
A large amount of development costs have been invested in the development of the F-35, which suffered from such troubles. The amount is said to exceed the original budget by 167 billion dollars (about 17 trillion yen).

Why does the United States spend so much money on F35 fighters? 1 photo International News: AFPBB News

If it is normal, it is a situation where the plan may be reviewed and canceled due to 'the outlook was unsatisfactory', but for the F-35, which has been developed as the main fighter of the future, it is impossible to cancel the plan That is the current situation. Even if the F-35 plan is discontinued, it will take a long time and a large budget to develop and develop a new plan, so it will be necessary to manage to complete the F-35. It seems that there are circumstances, and there is a view that the F-35 plan is too big to be crushed.

Due to the soaring development costs and the suspension of procurement from each country, the aircraft price of the F-35 has reached 19 billion yen, which is almost double the 10 billion yen per aircraft that the Japanese government had budgeted. I will. It is strange to say that we must accept the price that reflects the rise in development costs as it is, but behind this background is the contract content of the American military aid program `` Foreign paid military assistance (FMS)'' .. By that rule, even if the US side changes the price and delivery date of the equipment, Japan can not ask for a violation.

Although the aircraft price itself is skyrocketing, it is expected that the operation after delivery will also be extremely expensive. There is also a view that the lifetime cost of F-35 reaches $1,510 billion (about 153 trillion yen) in the U.S. government, and a large amount of budget will be spent from taxes for a long time after the introduction. Is inevitable.

Government sees lifetime cost of F-35 fighter at $1.51 trillion-tribunedigital-chicagotribune

It can be said that the fact that the F-35A followed by the F-35A acquired the IOC cleared a huge milestone in the development of the F-35, which has been extremely difficult. However, it is said that there are still unsolved problems, and it seems that it will take some time before the prescribed performance is fully realized. Some military personnel say that the F-35 will be the last manned fighter, and it is said that it will shift to utilizing UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) such as drones in the future. How the F-35, which was born after a “difficult birth” like no other in the past, will grow will depend greatly on future operational results.

in Software,   Hardware,   Ride, Posted by darkhorse_log