It's ALREADY Time To Re-Engine The F-35?

MIflyer

1st Sergeant
4,535
6,898
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
Let's see, we bought the KC-135 in the early 60's and re-engined it in the early 1980's. We are thinking about re-engining the B-52. Now it is already time to re-engine the F-35? Why? Well, it is very simple; the jet engine industry wants more money.

From Aviation Week:

DAYTON, Ohio—The U.S. Air Force's engine buyers have a bold warning: the industrial base that develops advanced propulsion for combat aircraft is at risk and could even collapse without a decision to re-engine the F-35. The service is undertaking an effort to possibly install a new propulsion system...
 

buffnut453

1st Lieutenant
6,931
9,792
Jul 25, 2007
Utah, USA
Here's an article on the advantages of the new engine. It's from the USAF so it will be trotting out the party line...however, some of the stated benefits are pretty impressive.


Of note, the research that enabled these improvements had nothing to do with the F-35 programme. It's the result of 14 years of research that has progressively evolved so that it can now be implemented in an operational aircraft. It's simply that the F-35 is the first beneficiary, no doubt because of its prime role in the early phases of any conflict - it's worth noting that the F-35 has VASTLY different operational requirements than the KC-135 or B-52.

It wouldn't surprise me if we saw similar technologies being implemented for F-15s and F-16s in due course.
 
Last edited:

GrauGeist

Generalfeldmarschall zur Luftschiff Abteilung
I just read a hysteria hit-piece about the F-35 already needing new engines.

What the author failed to mention (somewhat conveniently), is that the current F-35 (all variants) is a fully capable platform in it's current state.

It seems to me, that these people seem to forget (either through convenience or stupidity - I suspect the latter) is that ALL successful combat aircraft go through upgrades during their service life, including engines.

Read: All.
 

Macandy

Senior Airman
371
269
Aug 6, 2017
There is so much nonsense and hysteria about the F-35, mostly courtesy of Pierre Sprey.

"the F-35 is rubbish! It can only reach M 1.6!"

Neatly ignoring its doing M 1.6 with full fuel and internal weapons load - not polished to death and clean on minimal fuel and zero weapons
 

MIflyer

1st Sergeant
4,535
6,898
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
it's part of continual improvement and sustainment.
When I was at the Pentagon I put out a little note about the launch of a joint USAF/NASA mission designed to test new space-qualified electronic semiconductor components under actual space conditions. A general officer, head of PR (whatever the hell that is; I knew all of the people that did actual useful work) replied, asking what it cost. I responded $350M and he was enraged. "We could fly a wing of F-15's for a year for that!"

We tried to draw an analogy between the airplane world and the space world as to making basic technological improvements but he was having none of it. NOBODY would even admit to doing anything like that! If it did not put rubber on the ramp or buy gas to fly airplanes, it was a waste, as far as he was concerned. And as a result of that attitude, the USAF/NASA attempt to make basic technological improvement in rocket engines failed, not once, but twice, and the funding both times diverted to the F-22. As a direct result of that shortfall, for the Atlas V and the Delta IV we had to use engines built in Russia and based on the failed NASA Space Shuttle, respectively, to keep from having to continue to use 1950's technology.

And THAT, dear reader is why we need a Space Force, to keep the airplane and missile troops from 'effing up something they know nothing about and have no hope of ever understanding.
 

ThomasP

Tech Sergeant
2,182
3,021
Apr 17, 2017
midwest USA
Plus, if the new tech can be implemented in a new engine for the F-35 sooner rather than later, it could actually be cost effective. After all, if you can put the new engine in new-build aircraft on the production line, you will save the cost of having to buy the current engine plus whatever the cost of the modification/refit would be.
 

FLYBOYJ

"THE GREAT GAZOO"
Staff
Mod
28,098
8,681
Apr 9, 2005
Colorado, USA
When I was at the Pentagon I put out a little note about the launch of a joint USAF/NASA mission designed to test new space-qualified electronic semiconductor components under actual space conditions. A general officer, head of PR (whatever the hell that is; I knew all of the people that did actual useful work) replied, asking what it cost. I responded $350M and he was enraged. "We could fly a wing of F-15's for a year for that!"

We tried to draw an analogy between the airplane world and the space world as to making basic technological improvements but he was having none of it. NOBODY would even admit to doing anything like that! If it did not put rubber on the ramp or buy gas to fly airplanes, it was a waste, as far as he was concerned. And as a result of that attitude, the USAF/NASA attempt to make basic technological improvement in rocket engines failed, not once, but twice, and the funding both times diverted to the F-22. As a direct result of that shortfall, for the Atlas V and the Delta IV we had to use engines built in Russia and based on the failed NASA Space Shuttle, respectively, to keep from having to continue to use 1950's technology.

And THAT, dear reader is why we need a Space Force, to keep the airplane and missile troops from 'effing up something they know nothing about and have no hope of ever understanding.
Agree - I dealt with contracting officers out of Tinker, some of them had no aviation experience and trying to get them to understand why a PT6 overhaul cost $250K was like explaining nuclear science to a puppy.
 

FLYBOYJ

"THE GREAT GAZOO"
Staff
Mod
28,098
8,681
Apr 9, 2005
Colorado, USA
But the Puppy at least had better retention of the concept...
LOL - they did (do). My last hurrah was helping a former competitor bid on a contract that a former employer held. Much of the contract requirements were the same and when we submitted our proposal, the contract officers (who I worked with previously) were asking to most ignorant questions on things that were explained to them years earlier. At first we thought they were testing us but as time went on we determined that was previously explained to them was never retained. Clueless people who knew nothing about aircraft and had no interest in them but yet were responsible for awarding contracts in excess of $100 million dollars!
 

GrauGeist

Generalfeldmarschall zur Luftschiff Abteilung
On a much lesser scale (money-wise), I had to deal with similar people on the Federal level when specing out undercover vehicles for Homeland Security.
In one case, they wanted to be able to have a high-band radio (150MHz) share the same covert antenna as their cellular/data system (2.5GHz) and had considerable difficulty in understanding why that wasn't going to happen.

There was also the guy who thought that you can replace the halogen headlight bulb (in a composite headlamp system) with a strobe bulb and "make it stop flashing for normal driving situations and start flashing for emergency situations".

I tried VERY hard to be diplomatic when explaining to him how Xenon strobes function.

These people were the reason I kept hard liquor on hand in my cabinet at home...
 

SaparotRob

Unter Gemeine Geschwader Murmeltier XIII
8,739
8,110
Mar 12, 2020
Long Island, NY
I asked Buildings and Bridges to get the tower’s air conditioner filters replaced. The computer needs it cold. I come back the next day and the old a/c was replaced and dumped.
Had I been caught taking it out of the dumpster, I would have been arrested for theft of Railroad property.
 

MIflyer

1st Sergeant
4,535
6,898
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
Tinker AFB was my first assignment. In 1976 I was working on a F-111/D/F component that was incredible in that it literally had EVERY KIND of problem it is possible to have. Bad design, bad system design, kluges to try to help fix it, a key sensor that Airesearch was not bothering to calibrate, and an overhaul manual that clearly was designed to be as expensive to create as possible while at the same time having so many serious errors and omissions that it was effectively a superb sabotage effort. Oh, and the overhaul kit was a POS, too.

Then two US Army officers (one from my home town) were hacked to death by the North Koreans and another had his throat stomped so that he never spoke again except in hoarse whisper. The USAF was going to send the F-111D unit at Cannon AFB to Korea, to show the Norks how upset we were about their action as well as to fight a war if the attack was an opening move. But they had six F-111's down due to lack of that screwy component and could not deploy being down that many aircraft. I was ready to work all week and all night to get them in the air (as I did with other A-7D, F-105, and F-111 problems) but I got a letter from a GS-5 saying that an airman in another unit had lost his MA-1 flight jacket, valued at $27, and my Primary Duty was now to investigate that loss and write a report recommending whether he should have to pay for it.

The F-111's from Cannon AFB were not able deploy to Korea.
 

Users who are viewing this thread