Skip to comments.USAF to buy 'hundreds' of STOVL JSFs, Gen. Jumper says
Posted on 09/15/2004 1:47:15 PM PDT by Spackidagoosh
The U.S. Air Force plans to buy "hundreds" of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) configuration, a key general said Sept. 13, adding further clarity to the service's plans for the JSF variant.
The specific figure remains under review, said Gen. John Jumper, Air Force chief of staff.
"I can't give you an exact number, but it's going to be more than a handful," Jumper said at a press briefing at the Air Force Association's Air & Space Conference in Washington.
Current budget plans call for the Air Force to buy all 1,763 of its JSFs in the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) configuration, but Jumper and Air Force Secretary James Roche announced in February that the service would like to buy the STOVL variant as well to provide close air support, particularly for Army ground troops (DAILY, Feb. 13, Feb. 17). The Air Force has said since then that the number of STOVL JSFs it buys could result in a corresponding reduction in the number of CTOL F-35s it acquires.
Roche said in May that the Air Force's revised acquisition strategy for the Lockheed Martin JSF could be finalized by the end of the year (DAILY, May 17).
Also during the press briefing, Jumper and Roche said they are becoming increasingly convinced of the need to acquire an interim long-range strike system to serve as a bridge between the current bomber force and a next-generation platform, which may not enter service for more than two decades.
The Air Force asked industry for ideas on interim capabilities earlier this year and is evaluating the responses to that request for information (RFI). A bomber version of the Lockheed Martin F/A-22 Raptor has been mentioned as one option the Air Force might pursue (DAILY, May 20, May 24).
I'm a bit skeptical of this...I don't really know enough about the program. But last I heard it hasn't even finished testing....
"Gen. John Jumper"
Great name for a buyer of STOVL aircraft!
I would like to see the airforce buy at least 50 F-22's....
I guess if you buy a significant percentage of your F-35 JSF's as STOVL's, you are more likely to get your F-22's? If, on the other hand, you buy your F-35's as CTOL's (as originally planned), Congress just might cut your F-22 funding.
Depends on what you mean by "testing." The initial testing, to decide A) which plane they were going to pick and B) how well the basic design works of the one they chose, has been done. Lockheed/Martin won out over Boeing. The X-35 became the FA-35 and began the actual procurement process.
Each service committed to a basic number of units in each of the 3 variants (conventional for Air Force, carrier variant for Navy and SVTOL for Marines) and the manufacturer began early production of acceptance models. These models are used for the testing you're probably thinking of. They really never stop doing this type of testing throughout the life of an airframe. They're still doing this for the F15 and F16 for some issues.
From what I understand from talking to friends who have been involved in the process they tend to refine manufacturing, assess the exact parameters of the envelope, insist on hundreds of really stupid and expensive changes in the design... you know, the usual. That doesn't change the fact that this model has been accepted as the one they're going to buy. They're working out details. Realisticly they mostly involve manufacturing and maintenance issues.
This change is the Air Force shifting their own mission priorities. They've been trying to kill the A-10 Warthog for years. It's not a fast mover, it is, frankly, slow. It's ugly. It's also hell on ground targets and incredibly survivable. What it definitely is not is sexy. A SVTOL craft that can replace it, however, is sexy.
They need to do something convincing in this space if they want to kill the A-10, otherwise the law will be changed to allow the Army to fly fixed wing aircraft (that's right, there's a law that says the Army can't have fixed wing aircraft) or they have to turn that role over to the Marines. Neither prospect is attractive to the boys in baby blue.
AFAIK, the STOVL variant doesn't even have a gun or even decent range (yet). That big fan and its transmission is taking up ammo and storage space and the STOVL requirement means the weight has to be kept down. I don't think the Air Force is willing to trade the performance of the standard JSF for the STOVL vairant.
The Marines and Royal Navy operate from small carriers with no catapult or arresting capability, hence the need for STOVL.
And God help the Air Force if they successfully kill off the A-10. The F-35 cannot duplicate that mission any more than the F-16 could, STOVL or CTOL variants.
the f-35 will be a very good all-around workhorse....
but the f/a-22 is simply the most awesome jet fighter ever produced and will dominate the next few generations of fighters
/engineer on f/a-22
The F-35 will have a GAU-12U 25mm Gatling gun. Te CTOL version will have it internal, the VTOL version will have it external, like the Harrier does.
My favorite projected weapon system for the F-35 is a laser turret mounted within the fan housing. the fan drive shaft from the turbojet is to be used to turn a generator to give the laser it's power. Sucko for air to air, but a killer for air to ground and anti-missile duty...
The USAF never did care much for close air support. They preferred the fighter and bomber roles. They ditched the A-10 Warthog as soon as they could. (They tried to ditch it before the first Gulf War.) The Army and Marines couldn't count on the Air Force for close air, and that's why they have Apaches and Harriers respectively. Now, we have a war where close air is needed and the Air Force has little that can deliver.
I think the USAF is looking at future campaign scenarios where we may need to stage significant numbers of ground attack aircraft with limited runway access. This lesson was learned in Iraq with the Saudi's reluctance to let us stage our attack aircraft on their soil. If it wasn't for Qatar we would have had significant troubles.
Our AF is going to be significantly reduced. A couple of wings of F-22's to provide air dominance, a lot of JSF wings to replace the aging fleet of F-16S, more B-2s. These will hold us over until we start producing the new generation of pilotless attack craft. The Buffs and the Warthog will be around for awhile.
No it isn't. I don't know where you folks get this stuff.
How's the software problems going on the F-22? All I know is what I read in Aviation Week.
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