Random 10 List: Things I learned on the F-35 factory tour


LockheedMartin says:


1. The $800million gap in FY10 F-35 budget — $11.2 billion announced in April dwindled to$10.4 billion in May – may reflect program’s MILCON account


2. BF-1 STOVLaircraft will start a 12- to 24-flight conversion program to full verticallanding in July in Fort Worth, and complete inSeptember at NAS Patuxent River


3. Frontal-aspectradar cross section on F-35 will be no different for international variant,whatever Boeing may claim


4. Lookingahead to 240-aircraft yearly output, Lockheed wants to learn best practicesfrom Airbus A320 production system, which also combines a global supply chainwith multiple variants and customer configurations


5. Allengineering drawings for all three F-35 variants will be complete in July


6. Finland is in discussions with JointProgram Office to sign “study contract”, which is similar to Spain‘s current involvement


7. F-35airframe structure includes 22,000 “penetrations”, of which 85% are currentlydrilled by automation. Studies ongoing now aim to raise that amount by 5-7%


8. The liftfan inlet door is also known within the factory as the “’57 Chevy hood”


9. F-35′s movingassembly line to start running at 58 inches an hour by end of 2010 or early2011


10. After 2.5years in flight tests, the F-35 program will hit the 100-flight mark on thenext sortie


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8 Responses to Random 10 List: Things I learned on the F-35 factory tour

  1. irtusk 22 May, 2009 at 7:54 pm #

    > 3. Frontal-aspect radar cross section on F-35 will be no different for international variant

    that’s a curious statement

    does that mean rear/side/bottom/top radar cross section will be different?

  2. Rene Rosales 22 May, 2009 at 9:20 pm #

    As a huge fan of the F-35 program and what it can bring to the US and its allies, I would be very curious about these additional factoids:

    I haven’t heard of any rollouts in the last couple of months (if memory serves correct they have AA-1, BF-1, AF-1 and BF-2 rolled out in various stages of prep and testing). How soon will the next jets be rolling out of the factory and which type?

    I understand that CF-1 (first F-35C) should roll out end-of-summer. Are there any early images? I would love to see one compared against the larger wings with the other 2 variants.

    Will all the next ones have the mission avionics i.e. to support the “demon” helmet?

    Any word on the status of hoverpit testing for BF-1? I know the schedule is laid out for gradual transition flights to first vertical landing. Will they attempt vertical takeoff again?

    Sorry for so many questiions. Would love any answers (publicly releasable of course) to any of these questions. I can’t wait til IOC – it will be a big day for US/allied airpower capability.

  3. solomon 23 May, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

    hey anti F-35 people! can’t you feel it all slipping away!

    *there will be no double stealth characteristics…
    *on a video Beasley let it slip that the range will be close to 800 miles…
    *the 4 services are all on board the program…
    *new nations are trying to line up to get a piece of the pie…
    *funding is assured and the program has the full backing of the SecDef…

    yeah its all slipping away and every argument is being answered to your detriment…

  4. Prometheus 24 May, 2009 at 6:23 am #


    I am betting you right hear, right now:

    AF number will never be 4 digits and all buyers who are on board right now(excluting Israel) will get 2000 planes max.

  5. Prometheus 25 May, 2009 at 2:32 pm #

    Yes I feel it.

    I feel around 800 planes for the AF.
    I feel 2000 Planes for all costumers.

  6. solomon 27 May, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

    the anti crowd is amusing….the AF is retiring airplanes at this very moment praying for the F-35 to enter service rapidly and you ignore that fact. several nations are observing the progress of this jet and are looking to get aboard…S.Korea and Japan for their LHD’s but you ignore that fact. the AF hasn’t lowered it requirement and neither have the other big buyers of this plane but you ignore that fact….yeah 2000 max???? you’re smoking something illegal more like a possible 3 -4000!

  7. Prometheus 28 May, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    I dont smoke anything.
    I just remember history.

    Fact: The thing that the AF HAS to retire aircraft without replacment just shows how bad things are.
    Fact: Cost is growing, the Navy-V already has a raptorsque pricetag
    Fact: remember the original requirment of the Raptor? THE ACTUAL BUY IS DOWN TO 186 now. So we will see how things are in a few years.
    Fact: GAO says the first 243 aircraft will cost $42 billion, BEFORE COMPLETING FLIGHT TESTING.
    Fact: Countries like UK & Italy are in finance problems. There is already talk within the UK saying instead of 150 they will only buy 85.

  8. Prometheus 28 May, 2009 at 4:50 pm #

    S. Korea & Japan, yes forgot about them.
    But I was talking more about the customers you are already in.

    Isnt Singapur & Spain interested too?

    Dont get me wrong. I dont hate the JSF. I just have a more “real” outlook of the future

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