April 19, 2024

Morning Coffee: F-35 Software May Delay Production

F-35C JSF night takeoff

Morning Coffee is a robust blend of links to news around the internet concerning the Naval Air Station Patuxent River economic community. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Leader’s owners or staff.

morning coffeeA draft report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) says delays in software testing for the F-35 may slow production and increase costs, reports Bloomberg News. “Persistent software problems” impaired testing of the aircraft’s combat, navigation, targeting and reconnaissance systems. The Marine Corps version scheduled to be warfare-ready mid-2015 could face a 13-month delay. Projected 2016 and 2018 deadlines for readiness of the Air Force and Navy versions may slip as well.  Pentagon program manager Air Force Lt. General Chris Bogdan said there were no surprises in the GAO report. “We are confident about delivering the F-35’s initial war-fighting capability to the US Marine Corps in 2015.” The final report will be presented in a House Armed Services Committee hearing on March 26.

Defense industry acquisition reform is stalled according to a recent survey conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Government Business Council, reports National Defense. Despite a spate of new regulations, overall problems with the procurement process remain due to its complexity and the large number of stakeholders and process owners. The survey polled 340 defense acquisition business leaders who “are deeply discouraged by the inertia” and are pessimistic about the future of high-tech government procurements. A majority of survey respondents said that increased government involvement in designing requirements could improve the overall acquisition process.

The Star Democrat presents an alternative viewpoint on the proposed Eastern Shore wind farm which the Navy opposes because it believes that the turbines would interfere with radar and affiliated flight testing. The Maryland House of Delegates recently passed a year long moratorium on construction of the wind turbines. The commentary acknowledges the major economic impact of NAS Pax River but believes that the base can coexist with the wind farm and states that developers have been negotiating with Pax River to reach an agreement to shut down the wind turbines when the military needs them turned off to conduct certain testing.

The South Korean government announced Monday that it would purchase 40 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters as the country’s next generation aircraft, according to The Hill. The acquisition is expected to cost $6.8 billion with deliveries scheduled for 2018.

The US Navy is moving a black box locator into the southern Indian Ocean as part of its continuing effort to find missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, reports America’s Navy. If a debris field is confirmed the Towed Pinger Locator 25 (TPL-25) will add a significant advantage in locating the aircraft’s black box. The TPL-25 is able to locate black boxes on downed Navy and commercial aircraft down to a maximum depth of 20,000 feet.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) named veteran-suicide prevention as its top priority for 2014, reports the Washington Post. The group is lobbying Congress and the Obama administration to provide legislation and executive orders that strengthen veteran access to mental-health services and improve coordination between government agencies. Twenty-two veterans on average commit suicide every day and more than 47 percent of the respondents in IAVA’s 2014 member survey said they knew a veteran who had attempted suicide after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

A redesign of the much hated Navy “boondocker” steel-toe boot is under way, according to the Navy Times. Navy experts are hoping to replace the steel toe with a lightweight resin reducing the weight  up to 20 percent. Replacing the steel toe should also alleviate thermal conduction problems that make the boondockers unbearably hot or cold depending on conditions.

The Lockheed Martin P-175 Polecat unmanned high-altitude, long-range flying wing demonstrator was designed as both a stealthy surveillance platform and long-range bomber but the only prototype was destroyed in mid-flight, according to Gizmodo. The blended wing UAV was developed and funded by Lockheed’s famous Skunk Works. The Polecat prototype suffered an undisclosed malfunction during a test flight in 2006 which inadvertently triggered the plane’s self-destruct sequence.

A reporter from the Florida Times-Union hitched a ride on a Navy P-8 Poseidon last week and gives a report on his experience and the plane’s capabilities.


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